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■PLAIN AND COMPREHENSIVE VIEW OF
THE USAGES AND DOCTEINES OF
THE METHODIST CHURCH.
WITH AN APPENDIX.
Pj a Member of the Tennessee Conference.
Southern Methodist T hing House.
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR.
|j REELING that there is a demand for a brief and
comprehensive work containing the usages and doc-
trines of the Methodist Church, we have endeavored to
satisfy it by producing the following work. The author
claims no originality, although he may not have given
the names of the authors when he quoted their lan-
guage. Hoping that our book will meet the existing
demand, and be useful and do good, we submit it to an
intelligent and indulgent public.
Alexandria, Tenn., Oct. 1, 1879.
Origin and Progress 9
Economy . .13
Doctrine — God .... 20
Christ — His Divinity ... 23
The Holy Spirit — Its Personality and
Divinity .... 24
CHAPTER Y ?
The Scriptures — Their Sufficiency for
Salvation . . ... 26
Original Sin — Depravity \ . .27
Free Will, or the Free Moral Agency of
What it is — The Conditions of Justification
—Faithv-Repentance Necessary to Faith —
Prayer a Condition of Faith — Old Testa-
ment Evidence of Justification — The New
Baptism — Its Design . 51
The Mode . . .51
Infant Baptism . . 59
Adoption . . 72
Written Creed, or Discipline . .73
Sanctification . . 79
What it is — When Attained.
The Sacraments . ... 85
The Unconditional Final Perseverance of
the Saints . 90
Backsliders Reclaimed ... 101
Methodism m a Nutshell.
ORIGIN AND PROGRESS.
JESUS CHRIST gave the commission, "Go ye
therefore, and teach all nations ; " and some say
his disciple, Simon, crossed over into Great Britain,
in A.D. 35, and there preached the gospel.
The Church contended against heathenism during
the eight centuries prior to her earnest contentions
against Romanism. St. Augustin, in the fourth
century, found the Church scattered by persecu-
tion. From the eighth to the fourteenth century
she struggled hard, and to some extent successfully,
Wycliffe's publications and the blood of the mar-
tyrs were the seed of the Reformation, for which we
are indebted to Luther, Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley,
The Established Church of England — the fruit
of the Reformation — had a form of godliness, but
was minus the power.
Mr. Wesley, in 1739, organized "The United So-
10 Methodism, in a Nutshell.
cieties " for the promotion of scriptural holiness,
with only one condition previously required of those
who requested admission into them — a " desire to
flee from the wrath to come, and to be saved from
their sins." Mr. Wesley did not organize the Soci-
eties with the intention of founding a new Church,
nor did he sever his connection with the Church of
"Methodist" was the name originally given to
the Wesley brothers, about the year 1729, and to
several other young men of a serious turn of mind —
members of Oxford University — who used to assem-
ble together one particular night of the week, chiefly
for religious conversation. The term was selected
in allusion to the exact and methodical manner in
which they performed their various engagements,
which a sense of Christian duty induced them to
undertake — such as meeting together to study the
Scriptures, visiting the poor, and the prisoners in
Oxford jail, at regular intervals. Subsequently it
was applied to the followers of Mr. Wesley and his
coadjutors, though he wished " the very name might
never be mentioned more, but be buried in eternal
oblivion." It was not a theoretical and premedi-
tated system, but extempore. Mr. Wesley's Rules
for the Societies say : " In the latter end of the year
1739 eight or ten persons came to me in London,
who appeared to be deeply convinced of sin, and
Methodism in a Nutshell. 11
earnestly groaning for redemption. They desired
(as did two or three more the next day) that I
should spend some time with them in prayer, and
to flee from the wrath to come, which they saw con-
tinually hanging over their heads. That we might
have more time for this great work, I appointed a
day when they might all come together, which from
thenceforward they did every week — viz., on Thurs-
day, in the evening." This he called "the first
Methodist Society." Its number rapidly increased.
In 1766 emigrants came over from England or
Ireland, and established themselves into a Society
in New York. The recognition of the United States
as an independent country, and the difference of
feeling and interest that necessarily sprung up be-
tween the congregations in England and America,
rendered the formation of an independent Society
inevitable. The Rev. Thomas Coke, D.C.L., of
Oxford University, was ordained Bishop of the in-
fant Church, September 2, 1784. He was recog-
nized by the Conference held at Boston, December
25 of that year. Only ninety -five years have
swelled the number greatly — yes, no doubt, far
beyond the most sanguine expectations of Mr.
Those holding to the doctrine, as taught by Mr.
Wesley, number to-day more than five million five
hundred thousand. There are nearly five million
12 Methodism in a Nutshell.
children, who are not counted in the above number,
cared for by, and dedicated to, God in the several
branches of Methodism.
Our progress, compared with that of the most
flourishing denominations of our day, has been
great — yes, over two hundred per cent, greater
than the most prosperous — while from our altars
have gone thousands, and strengthened the ranks
of our sister denominations. As the missionary
spirit is now abroad in the land, and the Church
seems to be waking up on the subject, there is a
flattering prospect of her desire being accomplished
— "to spread scriptural holiness over the world."
Methodism in a Nutshell. 13
NOTHING has added more to the progress
of Methodism, perhaps, than its systematic
economy. The master-mind of Wesley, guided by
Divine inspiration, reestablished the apostolic plan
of itinerancy. Christ gave, first, a limited com-
mission, to the house of Israel, but it was to go
from house to house,, and from town to city ; it was
itinerant. The second or grand commission, in
Matt, xxviii. 19, was to "all nations." "Go ye" —
it was not stay. The promise was to be with them
"unto the end of the world."
The Prophet Elijah was an itinerant preacher.
Paul never stayed more than three years at a place,
and the most of his life he was on a circuit. Be-
sides being the prophetic and apostolic plan, it is
the best, for several reasons. More people can be
preached to by the circuit-rider, for less cost to the
Church, than in any conceivable manner. Christ
knew it would be the most successful way
It is an acknowledged fact that no man can
please everybody ; and there is some truth in the
14 Methodism in a Nutshell.
old adage, "A new broom sweeps clean." As some
were for Paul, and others for Apollos, in olden
times, so will men always be of different opinions.
One man will grow stale to one congregation. Send
him to a new place, where some one else has become
stale — make the exchange — and both congregations
will be often benefited, and the man better situated
to do good.
By the itinerant system the poor sections of coun-
try are supplied with the gospel. Our economy
sends the presiding elders, who are generally strong
and good, able preachers, to every circuit and mis-
sion in our Connection, and we always try to occu-
py all the territory in our bounds. We often see
Churches without a pastor, whose economy is local ;
we seldom, if ever, see them so with us.
The disciples left all, and followed Jesus. He
had no conditions in his call to the ministry. " The
world is my parish" should be the motto of all who
feel it to be their duty to preach the gospel. They
should be willing to be guided, or directed, by those
who ask guidance of the great Head of the Church.
Congregations sometimes insist on the privilege
of choosing their own pastors. I hear of but one
plausible reason for it, and that is satisfaction.
There has been more dissatisfaction in congrega-
tional Churches, or Churches that choose their own
pastors, than among the Methodists. It is much
Methodism in a Nutshell. 17
portant embassy. He has left the world, and ap-
pointed us in his stead, or place. An embassador
is a person sent from one sovereign to another, sup-
posed to represent in person the sovereign by whom
he is sent. He must have authority. So we, as
embassadors from Christ to the world, represent
him, and " beseech," or " as though God did beseech
you, by us, we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye rec-
onciled to God." In Rom. x. 15 Paul asks, "How
shall they preach, except they be sent ? " Dr. Clarke
says : " None can effectually preach unless he has a
divine mission. The matter must come from God,
and the person who proclaims it must have both
authority and unction from on high." A man thus
called of God to preach should give his entire time
and attention to his work. (This refers to pastors ;
the local preachers, who are not supported by the
Church, have to prepare for their pecuniary wants. )
When a man thus gives all his time, talent, and en-
ergies to his people, they should support him.
The support of the ministry has been "spoken
against" by an ignorant set of men, until they have
made some people believe that it is wrong to pay a
circuit-rider. Intellectual men never dispute it;
Bible-readers cannot but know it is right. In 1
Cor. ix. 7 Paul asks, " Who goeth a warfare any
time at his own charges?" and then goes to the
law to prove his position (verse 9) : " Thou shalt
18 Methodism in a Nutshell.
not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out
the corn " — showing that it had always been God's
plan for his ministers to be supported. In the 11th
verse he asks, " If we have sown unto you spiritual
things, is it a great thing if we shall reap of your
carnal things ? " If the minister feeds you on the
bread of life, that will enable you to so live here as
to gain a home in heaven, what is it, compared to
this, if you help to supply his temporal wants while
he is preaching? Besides, it being such a small
thing in comparison, " Even so hath the Lord or-
dained that they which preach the gospel should
live of the gospel." It is the will of the Lord that
you should support your preacher. It is a means
of grace. " God loveth a cheerful giver." Surely
it is a privilege to be loved by the Lord. You will
feel better, and enjoy more religion. There is a fine
God loveth a cheerful giver,
Though the gift be poor and small :
What doth he think of his children
When they never give at all ?
It is unnecessary to dwell on this part of the sub-
ject, for you are aware that it is right. The abil-
ity to pay is often called in question. You can pay
your taxes. Why? Because you are compelled to
do it, and make your arrangements accordingly.
You should pay as much, and as willingly, for the
Methodism in a Nutshell. -19
privileges of your souls as for those of your bodies.
One great mistake is, that people put off paying
their preachers until all else is paid, and then fre-
quently they have nothing to pay with, and the
poor preacher is in want. If we would resolve, the
first money we get, to pay our gospel-debt — for it
is a debt, not charity — and when we get it, lay it
away as not ours, but the preacher's, and no more
spend it than if it were never ours, and when we see
the steward pay it to him, or pay it to the preacher
— he will always report it to the Quarterly Confer-
ence — there would be no difficulty on our part.
In order that the preacher be interesting, and
have a variety to preach, he must buy books and
take papers, to keep up with the times — and all of
these cost money. If he should spend all his time
in secular employment, as you do, he would be no
wiser than you ; and how could he benefit you by
his preaching? By supporting your preacher you
enable him to give all his time to his work, and to
accomplish the more good ; and you will be instru-
mental in this way in doing much good, not only to
others, but to your own souls.
Our economy is the best the world has ever
20 Methodism in a Nutshell.
DOCTRINE — GOD.
THAT there is one God, all who read this will
admit. Although we cannot comprehend thor-
oughly his nature, yet it is our duty to endeavor to
gain a knowledge of his divine character. " God is
a Spirit." From all eternity has this Spirit exist-
ed. Ps. xc. 2 : " Before the mountains were brought
forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the
world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art
God." All matter — all things we can see — had a
beginning, and will have an end ; but God is eter-
Omniscience is one of the attributes or perfections
of God, and is plainly taught in Heb. iv. 13 : " Nei-
ther is there any creature that is not manifest in his
sight ; but all things are naked and open unto the
eyes of him with whom we have to do." Acts xv.
18 : " Known unto God are all his works from the
beginning of the world." Again, we hear David
say, Ps. cxlvii. 5, "His understanding is infinite."
As infinite is boundless, so is the knowledge of God.
It is not bounded by time or space. Throughout
Methodism in a Nutshell. 21
his dominion — earth, heaven, and hell — the illim-
itable bounds of immensity of space and duration
are all known unto him. Small and great, animate
and inanimate, material and immaterial, things past
and future, are just as clearly seen and as fully com-
prehended as events of the present. All " power be-
longeth unto God" (Ps. lxii. 11), as well as omni-
presence, or the presence of God at all places, r.s is
taught in Ps. cxxxix. 7-10: "Whither shall I go
from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy
presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art
there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art
there. If I take the wings of the morning, and
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea ; even there
shall thy hand lead me, and thy right-hand shall
hold me." Prov. xv. 3 : " The eyes of the Lord are
in every place, beholding the evil and the good."
In this immutable Being we find truth, holiness, and
" The mercy of God is the outgoings of his good-
ness and love in manifestations of pity and com-
passion for such as are in distress or affliction, or
are exposed to misery or ruin. Goodness and Love
look down upon the fallen race, and desire their
happiness ; Wisdom devises the remedy ; Pity lets
fall her tear of sympathy, and Mercy comes to the
rescue. But while the guilty turn with indifference
or scorn from all the offers of grace tendered by the
22 Methodism in a Nutshell.
hand of Mercy, Long-suffering waits with enduring
patience, reiterates the pleadings of Mercy, crying,
'Why will ye die?' until Goodness, and Love,
and Pity, and Mercy, and Long-suffering — having
all made their appeals only to be set at naught and
rejected — -join with Justice and Holiness, and every
perfection of God, in pronouncing upon the incor-
rigible their fearful and irrevocable doom."
24 Methodism in a Nutshell.
refers to Christ. He is denominated "The true
God" in 1 John v. 20. In Isa. ix. 6 he is termed
"The mighty God."
All the attributes that are applied to God are
also applied to Christ. It is not strange that Nic-
odemus said, " How can these things be? " We are
not called upon to believe the how, but the fact.
Holy Spirit — its Personality and Divin-
ity. — Some vainly contend that the Spirit is the
written word, or New Testament. The Spirit is
not merely an attribute, energy, or operation of the
Divine Being, but a personality.
The masculine pronouns are used in speaking
of the Holy Spirit. John xiv. 26 : " But the Com-
forter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Fa-
ther will send in my name, he shall teach you all
things." The personal pronoun he, the ..masculine
gender, would not be used if a real person was not
referred to. In John xvi. 7, 8, you will see the
Spirit is called him and he. Again, in verses 13,
15 : " Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come,
he will guide you into all truth ; for he shall not
speak of himself" etc. In these two verses the per-
sonal pronoun is used ten different times. We could
multiply passages if we thought it necessary.
The Spirit is represented as teaching, reproving,
guiding, speaking, hearing, taking, showing, glori-
fying and receiving glory— all personal acts.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 25
The real divinity of the Spirit could be proven
by the honors, works, attributes, and titles ascribed
to him in the Scriptures. He is represented in
Matt. xii. 31 as capable of being sinned against.
Job xxxiii. 4 says, "The Spirit of God hath made
me." All the attributes of God are applied to the
The titles applied to the Holy Ghost, or Spirit,
establish his divinity perhaps more concisely and
conclusively. He is called God. In Acts v. .°>
Peter asked, "Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy
heart" (or why have you let him fill your heart)
" to lie to the Holy Ghost ? " Then he says, in verse
4, "Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God."
This passage alone is sufficient to establish the
Supreme Godhead of the Holy Spirit. " God is a
Spirit," and the Spirit is God.
That there is only one God is admitted. We have
proven from the Bible that Christ and the Holy
Spirit are God. Now it is only necessary to prove
that these three are one, and we will establish that.
1 John v. 7 : "For there are three that bear record
in heaven — the Father, the Word (Jesus Christ), and
the Holy Ghost; and these three are one."
30 Methodism in a Nutshell.
FREE WILL, OR THE FREE MORAL AGENCY OF MAN.
THERE is a consciousness within the breast
of man that enables him to know that he can
act, or not act, just as he wishes. My own feelings
teach me that I can write, or I can quit, just as I
wish. If I can choose to act as I please in tem-
poral affairs, I can also in eternal affairs. If I can
close my mouth and not speak when I am tempted
of Satan to blaspheme God's name, or if I can
choose to curse, if I can blaspheme, I can also pray
if I wish. There is no civilized nation of the world
but regards man a free agent. Crime is punished
for the reason that man is regarded as being able
to avoid crime.
The Scriptures address man as a free agent. God
Just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
"In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt
surely die," shows that God regarded man a free
moral agent. If Adam was not capable of obey-
ing or disobeying, as he did, it could not have been
Methodism in a Nutshell. 31
just in God to punish him. In Deut. xxx. 19, God
addresses man as being capable of choosing life:
" I call heaven and earth to record this day against
you, that I have set before you life and death, bless-
ing and cursing : therefore choose life, that both thou
and thy seed may live." Also in Josh. xxiv. 15:
" Choose you this day whom ye will serve." Choos-
ing is determining or fixing the will, and man is here
called on to do this himself; and if he could not
choose, this would be nonsense.
Christ, in Matt, xxiii. 37, says, " How often would
I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen
gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye
would not!" — showing they could, if they would.
Again, John v. 40 : "And ye will not come to me,
that ye might have life." These passages plainly
show that they had the ability to come, but would
John i. 29 : " Behold the Lamb of God, which tak-
eth away the sin of the world." John iii. 16, 17-:
" For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should
not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent
not his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through him might be saved."
John iv. 42 : " This is indeed the Christ, the Saviour
of the world." These passages are enough, though
we could produce many more, to show that Christ
32 Methodism in a Nutshell.
died for the world, and promised eternal life to
such of the world as would believe, showing that
every man's salvation depends on his own will, or
choice. Because God knows a thing, it does not
necessitate it ; if so, God's knowledge would neces-
sitate or force him to do all he does.
We will notice some of the Scripture that some
think sets forth the idea of necessity :
"Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated,"
cannot mean God hated Esau as man hates, nor
could it imply that God was not willing for him to
be saved ; but rather a prophecy fortelling the fate
of the two nations. " Therefore hath he mercy on
whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he
hardeneth " (Rom. ix. 18). This simply means that
he has " mercy on whom he will " — that is, all — for
he says, " I will the death of none, but rather they
would all turn and live." "And whom he will he
hardeneth " — he does not will to harden any. Paul
was only trying to convince the Romans that it was
not unrighteous in God to grant eternal life unto
the Gentiles. This is all he meant. The " elect "
are those who repent of their sins and come to God
through Christ with an humble, obedient faith.
We only have space to cite a few of the passages
of Scripture that prove the universality of the atone-
ment. John vi. 51 : "And the bread that I will give
is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the
Methodism in a Nutshell. 33
world." Our Saviour could have meant nothing
but that he was " the Saviour of the world." If it
does not prove that all may have eternal life, it is
meaningless. Again, Heb. ii. 9 : " That he by the
grace of God should taste death for every man."
Can language be more plain ? Surely a person must
be very incredulous who can read the language of
Jesus and doubt for a moment that " God is no re-
specter of persons." 1 John ii. 2: "And he is the
propitiation for our sins ; and not for ours only, but
also for the sins of the whole world." 1 Tim. iv.
10 : " Who is the Saviour of all men, specially of
those that believe." An unprejudiced mind can but
see that these passages prove the universality of the
plan of salvation.
If there were no other — but there are many — •
passages proving Arminianism, the grand commis-
sion should settle it forever — Matt, xxviii. 19, 20:
" Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Ghost : teaching them to observe
all things whatsoever I have commanded you ; and,
lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the
world." Mark xvi. 15: "Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature." Why
preach the gospel to all nations, if all nations can-
not be saved ? Why to every creature, if every creat-
ure cannot be saved ?
36 Methodism in a Nutshell.
here state that repentance means a sorrow for, and
a turning away from, and a praying for the forgive-
ness of, sin. Matt. xxi. 32 : " For John came unto
you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed
him not; but the publicans and the harlots be-
lieved him ; and ye, when ye had seen it, repented
not afterward, that ye might believe him." This
passage shows that we must repent before we can
exercise saving faith. Christ says, in Luke xiii. 5,
" But except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish "
— showing we must repent, but never saying that
repentance will justify us ; but it must precede our
How can we believe we can receive pardon with-
out asking for it? We are told to "ask, and ye
shall receive." If we ask for pardon, we shall re-
ceive it, through faith in Jesus Christ. Prayer is
one of the conditions by which faith is given. By
prayer our faith is strengthened so that we can be-
lieve, and thus believing, we are justified, or par-
doned ; for we read in Acts x. 43 that " whosoever
believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."
It is true, " faith comes by hearing," and as we have
heard that "whosoever calleth on the name of the
Lord shall be saved," this drives us to the conclu-
sion that prayer is the condition we have heard by
which this faith comes that purifies the heart. The
idea is this : we know that " every one that asketh
Methodism in a Nutshell. 37
receiveth," and we ask in faith, and that faith pu-
rifies the heart. As Christ and his disciples could
not cast out some "devils only by fasting and
prayer," as this was necessary for their faith, so is
prayer necessary for our pardon, or faith that jus-
tifies. The altar of prayer, as a place of conven-
ience, songs of Zion, prayers of the good — all are
instrumental in strengthening our faith, and assist-
ing us in laying hold of eternal life. All of these
cannot justify us, or give peace and pardon, with-
out our faith.
Faith is the only condition that will reach all
cases of humanity. If justification, or purification
of heart, or pardon, could be bought, the rich could
get it; if by works, those who could work, and
those only, could be saved. We will not here no-
tice all the scriptures that speak of justification by
faith only, for our space will forbid. We will first
notice the condition of pardon in the Old Testa-
It must be remembered that we are here speak-
ing of how a sinner is justified, or pardoned of his
past sins — not how a Christian is justified. If we
fail to make the discrimination, we shall find an ap-
parent contradiction in Paul and James.
We invite your attention to Rom. iv. 3, 4, 5, 9 :
"For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed
God, and it was counted unto him for righteous-
40 Methodism in a Nutshell.
its meaning. After much long and hard study,
and earnest prayer, we have come to the conclusion
that we shall here give.
The apostles were told to begin at Jerusalem, or
to preach first to the Jews — a people that had al-
ways worshiped God, but were mistaken as to the
manner in which Christ should come. They did
not believe Jesus to be the Christ; but when the
preaching of Peter, "with the Holy Ghost sent
down from heaven," made them believe, they were
" born of God." They asked, " What shall we do ? "
to be saved? No, but to receive the Holy Ghost.
They had long been worshiping God, but had made
a grievous blunder in rejecting Christ. Acts ii. 38 :
"Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of
the Holy Ghost." It seems, from the answer that
Peter gave, that they wished to receive the gift of
the Holy Ghost. The point of controversy is as to
the meaning of " for the remission of sins." Eiq
aipzaiv a/j.aprcov, in reference to the remission of
sins. "For" means in reference to, or, in this in-
stance, because of, and not in order to ; and we have
the language of Peter himself to sustain us in our
belief— Acts xv. 8, 9 : "And God, which knoweth
the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy
Ghost, even as he did unto us ; and put no differ-
Methodism in a Nutshell. 41
ence between us and them, purifying their hearts
by faith." Peter was here speaking of the Gen-
tiles who had been converted, and compared their
conversion with his, or that of the Jews on the day
of Pentecost. Let us examine it closely. " God,
who knoweth their hearts " — that is, the Gentiles'
hearts — "bare them" (the Gentiles) "witness, giv-
ing them" (the Gentiles) "the Holy Ghost, as he
did unto us " (Jews) at the beginning — the day of
Pentecost — " and putting no difference between us "
(Jews, or disciples, if you prefer) "and them"
(Gentiles), "purifying their hearts by faith;" and
as he "put no difference between" the Jews and
Gentiles, and the Gentiles were told if they would
"believe" they should receive the "remission of
sins," and they had the Spirit, or Holy Ghost, to
"bear them witness" that their "hearts were puri-
fied by faith," there can be no other conclusion
than that the hearts of the people, on the day of
Pentecost, were " purified by faith." When one's
heart is purified, he is justified — pardoned — his sins
are forgiven, or remitted ; for the same apostle that
told them that through faith they should receive
"remission of sins " said their " hearts were purified
by faith." "For," then, in this case, must mean
because. We will illustrate it, in order that none
may be mistaken, by a note of hand. I have pur-
chased from my neighbor, Mr. Smith, goods to the
44 Methodism in a Nutshell.
spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them
which heard the word," as a witness that their hearts
had been purified by faith. As these were Gentiles,
so are we, and that which applied to them will apply
to us. Peter did not require any thing of them but
faith. He was preaching to a sinner who had re-
pented of his sins, and prayed for the forgiveness of
them ; and he only required faith. He did not say
(as many now vainly talk), " To him give all the
prophets witness, that through his name whosoever
believes," repents, confesses, and is immersed,
"shall be saved," or "receive remission of sins."
If these things had been necessary for the forgive-
ness of their past sins, he would have told them so ;
for it was the first sermon that had been preached
to the Gentiles. We learn that " God is no re-
specter of persons." Peter says, "God put no
difference between us" (Jews) "and them" (Gen-
tiles), "purifying their hearts by faith," or justify-
ing them all by faith only.
When Peter preached at Samaria, where Jesus
had formerly preached to the woman at the well,
salvation through faith, there was nothing in the
way of obedience required; but when they "be-
lieved Philip preaching the things concerning the
kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ,
they were baptized" (Acts viii. 12), for they were
fit subjects. They had been born again, and we
Methodism in a Nutshell. 45
learn that "whosoever believeth that Jesus is the
Christ is born of God." Philip only required the
eunuch to "believe with all the heart" before bap-
tism. He believed that " Jesus Christ is the Son of
God," and believing this, he was " born of God,"
and was a fit subject for baptism.
The conversion of Paul may be cited. Acts ix.
17: "And Ananias went his way, and entered into
the house; and putting his hands on him, said,
Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared
unto thee in the way as thou earnest, has sent me,
that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled
with the Holy Ghost." Saul believed what Ana-
nias had said ; for in verse 12 it is said that he had
"seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in,
and putting his hands on him, that he might receive
his sight;" and of course when it came to pass, he
believed it. His faith justified him ; for he says in
Rom. v. 1 : " Therefore being justified by faith, we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ." He was told to "arise and be baptized"
— not to pardon his sins, or justify him. " Wash
away thy sins " was to be done by " calling on the
name of the Lord," prayer being necessary to pro-
duce the faith that purifies the heart.
Paul at Antioch, after preaching to the people
of the genealogy of Jesus, and his life, death, burial,
and resurrection, then tells them that "through this
46 Methodism in a Nutshell.
man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins,"
and in the next verse (Acts xiii. 39) he tells both
what forgiveness is, and how it is obtained : "And
by him all that believe are justified from all things,
from which ye could not be justified by the law of
We will refer to only one more case — that of the
jailer, or "keeper of the prison." It is unneces-
sary to give this history, as all are familiar with it.
Acts xvi. 30: "And brought them out, and said,
Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" — the only time
this question is asked in the Bible. The answer is
so simple that I cannot see how men can be mis-
taken in its meaning. Verse 31 : "And they said,
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved, and thy house." This needs but little com-
ment. The jailer was a sinner. When he saw the
miracle he was convinced of sin, or convicted. He
was sorry for his sins — was repenting of them —
praying for their forgiveness, or to be saved — for
" prayer is the soul's sincere desire," and it was his
desire to be saved. When he asked the men what
he " must do to be saved," they answered him as we
answer men who now ask the same question — "Be-
lieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
Ask those who now claim to know what you
" must do to be saved," and one will say, " Wait
Methodism in a Nutshell. 47
until the Lord's good time," and another will cry,
" Obey ! " What is meant by " obey ? " " Believe,
repent, confess, and be immersed."
One says that if these things are not expressed,
they are implied. Suppose I should tell my neigh-
bor that he could have my bridle for five dollars.
When he comes after it, he claims the saddle and
horse. I would say, "I sold you only the bridle."
"0," he replies, "the saddle and horse were under-
stood ! " What would you think of such a man ?
You would think, at least, that he had a vivid
imagination. And what would you think of a man
who, knowing that the New Testament says that
all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be
saved, should say, "O immersion is understood!"
We think he could imagine more than has ever
been expressed. When a man has a bridle, of
course it is supposed he has a horse. So when a
man is justified by.faith, he should be obedient.
We shall next refer to some of the passages in
the Epistles. Rom. iii. 26, 28, 30: "To declare, I
say, at this time his righteousness ; that he might
be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in
Jesus." "Therefore we conclude that a man is
justified by faith without the deeds of the law."
"Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the cir-
cumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through
faith." Rom. v. 1, 2: "Therefore being justified
48 Methodism in a Nutshell.
by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord
Jesus Christ ; by whom also we have access by faith
into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in
hope of the glory of God." Rom. iii. 21, 22, 25:
" But now the righteousness of God without the law
is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the
prophets ; even the righteousness of God, which is
by faith in Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them
that believe." "Whom God has set forth to be a
propitiation through faith in his blood to declare
his righteousness for the remission of sins that are
past, through the forbearance of God." Rom. iv.
5 : " But to him that worketh not, but believeth on
him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted
for righteousness." Gal. iii. 26: "For ye are all
the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." 1
John v. 1 : " Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the
Christ is born of God." Gal. iii. 22-24 : " But the
Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the
promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to
them that believe. But before faith came, we were
kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which
should afterward be revealed. Wherefore the law
was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that
we might be justified by faith:' These quotations
might be greatly multiplied ; but the foregoing are
surely satisfactory to such as are disposed to abide
by the plain declarations of Scripture.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 49
We will now prove by the following scriptures
that justification is not of works. Rom. iii. 20, 27,
28 : " Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall
no flesh be justified in his sight ; for by the law is
the knowledge of sin." "Where is boasting, then?
It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay,
but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude
that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of
the law." Obedience can but be by works. Rom.
iv. 4, 5 : " Now to him that worketh is the reward
not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him
that worketh not, but belicveth on him that justifieth
the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for right-
eousness." Gal. iii. 2, 11: "This only would I
learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of
the law, or by the hearing of faith f " " But that
no man is justified by the law in the sight of God,
it is evident; for, The just shall live by faith."
Gal. ii. 16: "Knowing that a man is not justified
by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus
Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that
we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not
by the works of the law; for by the works of the
law shall no flesh be justified." This is sufficient to
establish the truth that we are not justified by
St. James, in speaking of how a Christian may
be justified, or remain just after he has been justi-
52 Methodism in a Nutshell.
which is derived from pditTto (bapto), and means to
baptize. Webster defines baptism as "the appli-
cation of water to the body as a religious cere-
mony." This may be done either by sprinkling
or pouring — simply affusion. A person when im-
mersed may be baptized, for as he is pushed under
or through the water, it rushes up, or is caused to
rush up, and thus may be applied to his body. Im-
mersion can be scriptural ; baptism is scriptural.
We will show in every instance that baptism was
practical, and in many cases that immersion was not.
The first baptism on record is referred to in 1 Cor.
x. 2, "And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud
and in the sea." In the first verse Paul says, " I
would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all
our fathers were under the cloud, and " how they
" were baptized." We find, notwithstanding Paul's
desire, that many at the present day are very ig-
norant of the modus operandi of their baptism.
We will let the Bible tell us.
ent relations: (1) Water baptism, Matt. iii. 11; (2) John's
baptism, Matt. xxi. 25; (3) Holy Ghost baptism, John i.
33; (4) Fire baptism, Acts ii. 3; (5) In the name of the
Lord Jesus, Acts xix. 5; (6) Baptism for the dead, 1 Cor.
xx. 29; (7) Baptism of suffering, Luke xii. 50; (8) For
remission of sins, Acts ii. 36; (9) Baptism of the Spirit,
1 Cor. xii. 13; (10) Baptized into Christ, Eom. vi. 3; (11)
Buried with Christ in baptism, Eom. vi. 4; Col. ii. 12.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 53
Kead from Ex. xiii. 20 to the close of chapter
fourteen. Notice the 21st verse of the thirteenth
chapter, "And the Lord went before them by day
in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way."
Verse 19, chapter fourteen, says, "And the angel
of God, which went before the camp of Israel " —
the "Lord" is here termed the angel of God — "re-
moved and went behind them; and the pillar of
the cloud went from before their face, and stood be-
hind them." This "cloud went from before them,
and stood behind them ; " before they were between
the "walls" that were "on their right-hand and
on their left." Then they could not have been im-
mersed by being surrounded by water and cloud.
How then were they baptized? We are told in
Ps. lxxvii. 17, "The clouds poured out water," and
baptized them. Read from the 15th verse, and you
will find that David had reference to this event.
They were there in the sea, near the water's edge,
and were baptized by the cloud pouring out water
upon them as it passed over from before them be-
We will next consider " John's baptism." We
wish to state in the outset that the most learned
Baptist of our age, and all Protestants or Pedo-
baptists, agree that John's baptism was not Chris-
The first mention of John's baptism is in Matt.
54 Methodism in a Nutshell.
iii. 6, "And were baptized of him in Jordan." The
preposition in, that only denotes the place where he
baptized, bothers some, and causes them to think
he immersed. He could baptize in Jordan as
well as immerse. I have baptized people in creeks
by pouring. How? They would kneel down
near, or in, the water, and I would pour the water
on them, as John did. In the 11th verse he tells
how he baptized. Says he, "I indeed baptize you
with water." If I should tell you that I whipped
a man with a stick, you would understand me. You
would know I applied the stick to the man, not the
man to the stick. In Alexandria tells where, and
with a stick tells how; so "in Jordan" tells where,
and "with water" tells how. "He shall baptize
you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." This
came to pass on the day of Pentecost. Acts ii. 2 :
"And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as
of a rushing mighty wind, and it " — the sound, parse
for yourself — "filled all the house where they were
sitting." Verse 3 : "And there appeared unto them
cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each
of them." What " sat upon " them ? The " cloven
tongues of fire." Verse 4 : "And they were all filled
with the Holy Ghost." "All " the people— not the
house. Now read verses 16 and 17: "But this is
that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel : And
it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I
Methodism in a Nutshell. 55
will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh." We
find, then, that when they were baptized by the
Holy Ghost and with fire, it was done by " pouring
out" of the Holy Ghost. We find that John did
his baptizing by pouring.
Says one, "Jesus was baptized in Jordan, and
' coming up straightway out of the water.' " How
is that, if he was not immersed ? I will tell you :
He was in the water one or forty inches, as the
case might have been, and John " baptized him with
water," as he did all others, by applying the water
"In Enon, near to Salim, because there was much
water there," is not mysterious ; for " much water "
was necessary for the immense crowds that came to
his baptism. Enon was only an inn or tavern, and
the " much water " is several springs. Why do not
immersionists refer to " where John first baptized ? "
They are as shy of it as " Nostrum " (my horse) is
of a tanyard. John x. 40 : "And went away again
beyond Jordan into the place where John at first
baptized, and there he abode." The next two verses
plainly teach us it was some nice dry place. He
says, "And many resorted unto him, and many
believed on him there." He could not have im-
mersed, for a place where the people would "resort,"
where Jesus " abode," and where they could stay
long enough for " many to believe on him there,"
56 Methodism in a Nutshell.
was not a place to immerse. But he could baptize
there very well. This is enough of John's baptism.
One who would not believe this surely " would not
be persuaded though one should rise from the dead."
We will now consider the personal baptisms.
Acts viii. 38 : "And they went down both into the
water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized
him." Because " they went down into the water "
is no reason the eunuch was immersed ; for " bap-
tized" does not mean to dip, but the "application
of water to the body," not the body to the water.
There are several things to take into consideration
in this case. " From Jerusalem to Gaza, which is
desert," there is but little if any running water to
baptize in. The eunuch was reading just after
where Isaiah (for the book was not then divided
into chapters as it now is) had said, "And he shall
sprinkle many nations." How did Jesus " sprinkle
many nations?" The Bible is its own interpreter,
and makes it plain. We read, " When Jesus made
and baptized more disciples (though Jesus baptized
not, but his disciples)." And his command to his
disciples was, "Go ye, therefore, and baptize [or
sprinkle] all nations." And when Philip explained
it to him thus, it is the most reasonable conclusion
that "when they went down into the water" the
eunuch desired that Philip should baptize him with
Methodism in a Nutshell. 57
Paul (Acts ix. 18) was baptized in a city, Da-
mascus, in the house. Immersion is unreasonable
in this case. I will relate a similar case : I went to
Nashville, into a street called College, in the house
of Smith, and found Saul of Tarsus, when I went in,
laid my hands on him, " scales fell from his eyes,"
or he "professed religion," and arose immediately,
and was baptized. No place here for immersion,
if baptize meant to immerse.
Cornelius and his children next.
Acts x. 47, 48 : We only know that Peter asked,
"Can any man forbid water, that these should not
be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost
as well as we ? And he commanded them to be bap-
tized in the name of the Lord." There are only
two things directly from which we can derive the
desired information: 1. "Can any man forbid wa-
ter " to be brought ? is the only intelligent interpre-
tation or explanation that can be given. Let water
be brought, and these be baptized, here in the house ;
as we have never heard of any one in the apostle's
time journeying to any water to baptize. 2. The
meaning of the word baptize settles it forever.
We will here invite your attention to the jailer
and his children. Of course, he and his children
were all baptized alike.
Acts xvi. 33 : "And he took them the same hour
of the night, and washed their stripes ; and was
58 Methodism in a Nutshell.
baptized, he and all his, straightway." There are
several things in this instance I desire you to notice :
1. It was death by the Koman law for a jailer to
leave his post. If he had done so he would have
been put to death, which he was not ; therefore, he
did not leave and seek a stream to be immersed.
2. There is no proof or probability that there was
any bath in the prison ; therefore, there is no prob-
ability of immersion. They had water, to be sure,
in washing their stripes — if he washed them with
water — and a small amount of that could have
been used. This is the only reasonable conclusion.
" But," says the immersionist, " they went out of
the jail, and could they not have found water suf-
ficient in which to immerse?" Hold! don't be too
sure they went out of the prison until you consider
the matter well. "We see, in verse 23, "they cast
them into prison," charging the jailer to keep them
safely. Verse 24 : " Who, having received such a
charge, thrust them into the inner prison." They
are now in twice. They are "into prison" and
" into the inner prison," or cell. They must come
out of two doors before they can be where they
were before their incarceration. In verse 30 it says,
"And brought them out" of the inner prison, or
cell, of course. They are still in the prison, but
not the inner prison. That prison was like all other
prisons: the jailer's family-room and the "inner
Methodism in a Nutshell. 59
prison," or the cells, were all under the same in-
closure. The jailer had no authority to take them
out of prison. "They" — the magistrates — "cast
them into prison;" but the jailer "thrust them
into the inner prison." The jailer " took them
out" of the "inner prison." And the next morn-
ing, or " when it was day, the magistrates sent the
sergeants, saying, Let those men go." " But Paul
said unto them, They have beaten us openly un-
condemned, being Romans, and have cast us into
prison, and now do they thrust us out privily? nay,
verily ; but let them come themselves and fetch us
out." This shows they never left the prison. The
jailer and all his family were baptized — water ap-
plied to the body — in jail, or prison.
Why contend for immersion when the word is
not in the Bible? Being buried with Christ in, or
by, baptism, has no reference whatever to the mode
of baptism, but shows that we are buried or " hid
with Christ in God." Affusion is the Bible mode
Infant Baptism. — We will first prove by his-
tory that infants have long been the subjects of
baptism. We will just refer you to "Chambers's
Encyclopedia," Vol. II.: "When the Jews prose-
lyte from another Church, they require the males
both grown and babies— to be circumcised; all
must bring a sacrifice, and all— both the adults and
60 Methodism in a Nutshell.
the babies — had to be baptized." Chambers, who
" wrote for the million," has too much at stake to
be the least biased to any denominational credu-
lity. This corresponds with the figure used in Isa.
xl. 11. In speaking of the coming of Christ, he
says : " He shall feed his flock like a shepherd ; he
shall gather the lambs with his arms, and carry them
in his bosom." We learn from ancient history that
the Eastern shepherds wore a blanket over their
shoulders, with a belt around their waist; when
they found lambs so young and weak that they
could not travel, they would put them in their bo-
soms — made by the belt and blanket — and carry
them home and feed them with warm milk. We find
this prophecy came to pass in the life of Christ, for
"Jesus took them" — children, or lambs — "up in
his arms and blessed them." We should consider
him a poor shepherd that would shelter the old
sheep and leave out the tender lambs. Not only
did the Jews practice infant baptism before and
after the coming of Christ, but we will now prove
by reliable ancient history that the apostles preached
it. Origen, who wrote one hundred and eighty-
five years after the birth of Christ, says, "The
Church received from the apostles an order to give
baptism to infants" (Ruter's Gregory, p. 40). I
insist on your seeing the authors, and then think
if there is any thing but blind prejudice and igno-
Methodism in a Nutshell. 61
ranee that will cause any to publicly affirm that
infant baptism is a child of the dark ages.
Again, we would refer you to Justin's Apol.,
I. p. 57, who wrote forty years after John. He says,
"Many persons among us, sixty or seventy years
old, were made disciples" — baptized — "of Christ
in their infancy, continue uninterrupted. Chil-
dren of the good are deemed worthy of baptism."
We wish to cite you to history of different cent-
uries, to show that infant baptism has been prac-
ticed by the Church in all ages.
"Fidus, two hundred and fifty-four years after
the birth of Christ, applied to Cyprian, IVishop of
Carthage, to know whether the baptism of infants
ought to take place 1 the eighth day after their birth.
Sixty-six bishops said it was not necessary to defer
it to the eighth day, and that baptism should be
given to all, especially to infants." — Cyprian's /,)>.
Again, Augustin, who wrote in the fourth cent-
ury, said : " Infant baptism, which the whole Church
practice, was ever in use. The whole Church has
ever held to it. I have never read or heard of any
Christian, whether Catholic or Sectary, that held
otherwise." Pelagius says the same. There were
some individuals, prior to this time, that wished to
defer the baptism of infants until just before their
death, because they thought baptism washed away
62 Methodism in a Nutshell.
their sins; but if in danger of dying, they were
strong advocates of it.
Tertullian, in the beginning of the third century,
was the first to oppose infant baptism in any form,
and he did it because he thought baptism washed
away all past sins, and that sins committed after
baptism were peculiarly dangerous. He desired,
therefore, that baptism should be postponed until
just before death.
Peter de Bruis, in France, A.D. 1200, was the
next to oppose it. His reason was because he
thought infants incapable of salvation.
The first to oppose it because they thought it un-
scriptural were German Baptists, in the beginning
of the sixteenth century.
In the face of these facts, some men have ex-
posed their ignorance of history by saying that in-
fant baptism began in the fourth century, without
giving us any proof of their assertion. We have
proven by reliable historians that it was practiced
by the apostles and all the primitive Christians —
with a few exceptions — up to the seventeenth cent-
We will now show that infant baptism is script-
ural. All will admit that infants were embraced
under the Abrahamic covenant. (Gen. xvii. 10-
14). Then we have only to show that the covenant
made with Abraham is the same as the Church un-
Methodism in a Nutshell. 63
der the gospel dispensation, more fully unfolded.
The gospel is a new dispensation of religion, but
not a new Church. The Church underwent many-
changes. It is only necessary to give a few quota-
tions to prove that the covenant of Abraham was
the Church. Acts vii. 38 : " This is he that was in
the Church in the wilderness," etc. Ps. xxii. 22 :
" In the midst of the congregation [Church — kahal
— hxXrjffia] will I praise thee." Heb. iv. 2 : " Unto
us was the gospel preached as well as unto </iew."
1 Cor. x. 4: "And did all eat the same spiritual
meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink ;
for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed
them, and that Bock was Christ." John xiii. 36:
"Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and saw it, and
was glad." There can be nothing more direct than
Matt. xxi. 43: "Therefore I say unto you, The
kingdom of God shall be taken from you (Jews),
and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits
thereof." Not a new kingdom made or set up, but
the same kingdom, or Church, taken from the Jews
and given to the Gentiles. Therefore, the Jewish
and the Christian Church are the same. Paul, in
comparing the Church to an olive-tree, perhaps
borrowed it from Jer. xi. 16: "The Lord called
thy name, A green olive-tree, fair, and of goodly
fruit; with the noise of a great tumult he hath
kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are
64 Methodism in a Nutshell.
broken." St. Paul, in speaking of the rejection of
the Jews on account of their unbelief, and the ad-
mittance of the Gentiles into the Church, does not
say that the olive-tree was destroyed, and another
tree planted. Hear him in Rom. xi. 15-24: "For
if the casting away of them be the reconciling of
the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but
life from the dead ? for if the first-fruit be holy, the
lump is also holy ; and if the root be holy, so are the
branches. And if some of the branches be broken
off, and thou, being a wild olive-tree, wert graffed
in among them, and with them partakest of the
root and fatness of the olive-tree, boast not against
the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not
the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say, then,
The branches were broken off, that I might be
graffed in. Well ; because of unbelief they were
broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-
minded, but fear ; for if God spared not the natural
branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
And they also, if they abide not still in un-
belief, shall be graffed in ; for God is able to graff
them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the
olive-tree, which is wild by nature, and wert graffed
contrary to nature into a good olive-tree, how much
more shall these, which be the natural branches, be
graffed into their own olive-tree?"
Dr. Ralston says on this subject that "the scope
Methodism in a Nutshell. 65
of the apostle's reasoning is so plain here that it
cannot be misunderstood by an intelligent, unbi-
ased person. The Jews were originally embraced
in Church-relation with Abraham and the heads
rf the Jewish Church, who are represented as the
first-fruit,' which was 'holy' — that is, they were
3onsecrated, or set apart in a sacred Church-rela-
;ion, presented under the emblem of a ' good olive-
;ree.' For they were ' broken-off branches of un-
belief.' In this same tree, or covenant relation
md Church-privileges, the believing Gentiles were
.ngrafted. But did the rejection of the unbeliev-
ng Jews destroy the primitive Church of God into
tfhich they had been taken ? By no means. The
infruitful branches ' were broken off,' but the orig-
nal stock remained. The 'good olive-tree' yet
itood firm, and into the same stock the Gentiles were
ngrafted. Noav we demand, unless the New Tes-
;ament Church is a continuation of the original
Church established in the family of Abraham, is
essentially the same, though under a change of dis-
pensation, how is it possible to place any sensible
ionstruction on the language of St. Paul in the
sassage presented ? We confidently affirm that the
mssage admits of no other interpretation ; and, if
:o, does it not follow that as infants were by divine
ippointment received into the Abrahamic Church,
therefore they still retain the right of Church-mem-
66 Methodism in a Nutshell.
bership derived from the original charter, and con-
sequently they have a right to baptism? The only
possible way to escape this conclusion will be to
show that the law of God conferring upon infants,
in the days of Abraham, the right to covenant and
Church-privileges has been repealed under the gos-
pel ; but this never has been, and, as we are sure,
never can be done."
Baptism came in the room of circumcision. They
are signs and seals of the same covenant. Circum-
cision was the initiatory rite into the Church in the
days of Abraham and of Moses ; so baptism was
the initiatory rite into the Church in the days of
Paul and Peter. Circumcision was the token of
visible membership in the Church of God, and cov-
enant of old; so is baptism now. Circumcision
pointed to the remission of sins by the atonement
of Christ, to regeneration and sanctification of the
spirit ; so does baptism. Circumcision has passed
away, and baptism occupies the same relation to
the Christian Church as circumcision did to the
Jewish. The children were circumcised and brought
into the Church under the Old Dispensation, and
they always have been and always should be bap-
tized and brought into the Church under the New.
We wish to call attention to a few of the proph-
ecies of the Old Testament in reference to the Gen-
tiles and their children.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 67
Isa. xlix. 22: "I will lift up my hand to the
Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people;
and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and
thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoul-
ders." There is no other sensible conclusion only
that "thy sons and daughters" here mean the chil-
dren, and "shall bring" them to the Church. And
as baptism is the initiatory rite into the Church,
they were baptized into, or initiated by baptism
into, the Church.
Isa. Hi. 15 : "So shall he sprinkle many nations,"
or baptize them by sprinkling water upon them.
This came to pass in the commission, " Go ye, there-
fore, and baptize all nations." We have re-
ferred to the passage stating that "Jesus himself
baptized not, but his disciples." He sprinkled, or
baptized, all nations through his disciples. Infants
are a part of " all nations," therefore he baptized
As we will now notice the New Testament on
this subject, we will farther consider Christ's lan-
guage in Matt, xxviii. 19 : " Go ye, therefore, and
teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
"Teach" here means proselyte, or make disciples
of. First, we would do well to consider that this
language was spoken to the Jews, who were always
accustomed to see the children of all that they
68 Methodism in a Nutshell.
"taught," or that were proselyted from other
Churches, baptized, as we proved in the beginning
of this subject. They were commanded to baptize
" all nations." Children compose a large part of
all nations, therefore they were commanded to bap-
tize children. They were first commanded to pros-
elyte them — for this is the meaning of iJ.af)rjrsb(Tars
— and after they are proselyted then baptize them,
and then teach as they are competent to be taught.
We wish to refer you next to the Saviour's lan-
guage in reference to infants. Luke ix. 48 : " Who-
soever shall receive this child in my name receiveth
me." (Mark x. 13-16; Luke xviii. 15-17.) By
reading all the passages cited, you will see they were
small "infants," for "Jesus took them up in his
arms." There is only one way that I have ever
heard of to receive children in the name of Jesus,
and that is by baptism. In what way could a Bap-
tist receive a child in the name of Jesus ?
The "kingdom of God," here used, means the
Church on earth, for all children are not members
of the Church in heaven, for they may live to years
of maturity, die in their sins, and be lost. If I
should say, with a child on my knee, that of such
is our school, all would understand that the school
is composed partly, at least, of such ; so with the
Church— it means that the Church is composed
partly of children.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 69
Paul says, in 1 Cor. x. 1, 2, "All our fathers were
under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,
and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and
in the sea." No one can deny that there were
mall infants baptized here.
We will next notice very briefly the actions of
the apostles after they received the commission to
"baptize all nations."
Peter, on the day of Pentecost (Acts ii. 39),
says, "The promise is unto you, and to your chil-
dren." If he did not wish to convey the idea that
children were to be baptized, he used the wrong
language ; for the Jews were accustomed to seeing
the children of proselytes baptized, and Peter had,
in the preceding verse, commanded them to be bap-
The apostles baptized several households. Acts
xvi. 14, 15 : "And a certain woman named Lydia,
a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which"
worshiped God, heard us ; whose heart the Lord
opened that she attended unto the things which
were spoken of Paul. And when she was bap-
tized, and her household, she besought us, saying,
If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord,
come into my house, and abide there." All the
particulars specified are of "Lydia," and nothing
is said of the piety or conversion of her "household,
only they were '^baptized." She "worshiped God."
70 Methodism in a Nutshell.
She "heard us." "The Lord opened her heart."
She " attended unto the things spoken." She said,
"If ye have judged me to be faithful, come into
my house." The only explicable reason for so much
being said about her, and nothing being said of
her household, is, her household were children who
were baptized on the faith of their parents.
Again (Acts xvi. 30-35), when the jailer asked,
"What must I do to be saved?" the answer was,
" Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt
be saved, and thy house" The jailer "was bap-
tized, he and all his (children) straightway." The
word was preached to " all that were in his house,"
but does not say they were baptized. "And he took
them, and (he) washed their stripes." "He brought
them into his house ; he set meat before them." He
"rejoiced," and he was "believing in God with (or
in company with) all his house." If there had
been adults, surely some would have helped him in
some of the work. No one believed or rejoiced in
God but him ; yet they were all baptized.
If there were no infants baptized in all the house-
hold baptisms, the apostle's language is calculated
to lead astray both Jews and Gentiles. There are
other household baptisms, and many other passages
we might quote to establish this truth, but enough
has been said to be conclusive to the unprejudiced
mind. We will sum it all up in this :
Methodism in a Nutshell. 71
1. Infant baptism was practiced by the Jews be-
fore and during the days of Christ. Neither Jesus
nor the apostles ever condemned it ; therefore, they
thought it right.
2. Children were members of the Church under
the Old Dispensation. The law was never re-
pealed, nor objected to, by Jesus or his apostles.
3. Profane history tells us it was practiced by
the apostles and primitive Church.
4. The Bible condemns evil of all kinds, and
especially the pernicious customs of the Jews; it
does not condemn infant baptism, but both in the
Old and New Testaments it is set forth in unmis-
takable terms; therefore, for these four reasons,
we believe infant baptism is right.
72 Methodism in a Nutshell.
~TT"7~HEN we are converted it is our privilege to
V V know it. This knowledge is communicated
by the Spirit of God to our hearts. Only a few
passages are necessary to prove this point, as it is
very generally admitted. The Spirit is the witness
to give us this evidence of our adoption.
Peter, in Acts xx. 8, says : " God, which knoweth
the hearts, bare them witness" — how? By "giving
them the Holy Ghost," or Spirit, which is the same.
That we may have the direct witness of the Spirit,
or Holy Ghost, in our hearts to let us know we are
children of God, will be seen from the following
scriptures. Rom. viii. 15, 16: "For ye have not
received the spirit of bondage again to fear ; but
ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we
cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth wit-
ness with our spirit, that we are the children of
God." 1 John v. 10: "He that believeth on the
Son of God hath the witness in himself:' 1 John iii.
14: "We know that we have passed from death
unto life, because we love the brethren"— we have
Methodism in a Nutshell. 73
a consciousness of our acceptance with God. Mr.
"Wesley speaks of it thus : " The testimony of the
Spirit is an inward impression on the soul, whereby
the Spirit of God directly witnesses to my spirit
that I am a child of God, that Jesus Christ has
loved me, and given himself for me, and that all
my sins are blotted out, and that I, even I, am rec-
onciled to God."
Written Creed, or Discipline. — "Let your
moderation be known to all men." There is a
class of bigots, generally very ignorant, wlio wish
to make people believe that they are the only peo-
ple in the world who are governed by the Bible.
They cry, "The Bible! the Bible! We have no
creed but the Bible ! " — as if no one else ever read
or believed the Bible. There is one thing clearly
demonstrated — they have a creed, mental, verbal,
or written, if they have any sense. An opinion is
a creed. There is no more harm in having a writ-
ten creed than a mental or verbal one. If one has
an opinion in his mind, and does not express it, it
is a mental creed; if he speaks it, it is an oral
creed ; if he writes it, it is a written one.
There are so many silly objections to creeds, pro-
fessions of faith, and disciplines, that I will not try
to notice them all, but show the propriety of a writ-
Written creeds prevent confusion. I remember
74 Methodism in a Nutshell.
once reading a long editorial in a religious, or de-
nominational, journal, in which the editor tried his
best to establish the fact that we (" Christians ") had
a right to pray for the conversion of sinners. He
had no creed but the Bible, he claimed. He be-
lieved it, and why not publish his belief in a short
form, so that the world could know what he thought
on that subject ? But in a few days one of his breth-
ren, and a cousin, I think, came to the village to
preach a series of sermons to the people who had
read the journal above referred to. In one of his
sermons he tried for nearly two hours to prove that
we did not have any right to pray for the conversion
of sinners. Whom must the people believe — the ed-
itor, or his cousin ? Neither of them had any creed
but the Bible. They claimed to have no Procrus-
tean bedstead to be shortened or stretched to until
they fitted it. No, thought I, the preacher was not
letting the Bible be his iron bedstead. A written
creed would let us know where they stand ; but as
it is, if you say they teach that we have no right to
pray for sinners, one will cry, " We are persecuted ! "
and if you say they teach that we have a right to
pray for sinners, then another cries, " Persecution ! "
Without some understanding, opinion, or creed,
we could have no uniformity in worship. One who
reads the Bible thinks public worship should con-
sist of song, prayer, sermon, and the sacrament.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 75
Another thinks that songs are of human institu-
tion, and should be avoided ; and another thinks
that prayers should not be offered in public. One
thinks the sacrament should be taken every Lord's-
day, just after the morning service; another con-
tends that we should follow our Lord's example,
and take it at night. One thinks singing should
be done standing ; another, sitting. These are all
guided by the Bible.
Creeds and Disciplines prevent misunderstand-
ings. How often do we hear the cry, " Persecution !
persecution ! We are persecuted ! we are misrepre-
sented ! " Write your opinions, and we will not
misrepresent you. You can do this, and no sensi-
ble person will say you are governed by your Dis-
cipline. You can do it without adding to or taking
from the Bible. There is no more adding to the
Bible by writing your belief in a Discipline than
there is in writing a religious paper or a good book.
We repeat, all who read the Bible, and have sense
enough to think, have their belief 'in reference to
the fundamental doctrines and duties of Christian-
ity, whether mental, spoken, or written. K
We once worshiped in the same house with two
distinguished no -creed divines. My intercourse
with them resulted in the following conversation :
"Brethren, do you believe the Bible?"
"Yes," they both very kindly responded.
76 Methodism in a Nutshell.
" You are governed by the Bible alone — have no
written creed ? "
" Most assuredly," they said.
" Please tell me what you believe."
"I believe the Bible ! " "I believe the Bible ! "
they eagerly exclaimed.
" I am young ; will you be so kind as to give me
" With the greatest of pleasure," they said.
"Well,* is Jesus Christ God?"
" Yes," said B., " God was manifest in the flesh."
"No," said C, "'This is my beloved Son.'"
> " Is man totally depraved ? "
B. " Yes ; ' Man is as prone to evil as the sparks
to fly upward.' "
C. " No ; but he is only disposed to sin."
" Has the sinner the right to pray ? "
B. " Yes. Paul says, ' I would that men pray
C. "No; ' for we know that God heareth not
B. " But that is the language of an unregenerate
" Hold ! hold ! I do not wish to spring a discus-
sion ; but how is a man justified, or pardoned ? "
B. " By faith only."
*Pay attention, now, and I will give you their creed,
written as they spoke it.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 77
C. "By obedience, faith, repentance, confession,
" How is a man baptized ? "
B. and C, in one voice. "By immersion."
" What is baptism for f "
B. "A door into the Church."
(7. " For the remission of sins."
" Who should be baptized ? "
B. " Those who can give an experience of grace."
C. " Penitent believers."
" Who should take the sacrament ? "
B. " Only those who have been immersed by a
regular minister of our Church, and have never
annulled their baptism by leaving our Church."
0. "All the followers of Christ."
" Who is a proper administrator ? "
B. and C. " O well " — and here was confusion.
" Can a Christian apostatize ? "
B. "No. 'He that doeth these things shall
never fall.' "
C. "Yes; a man baptized into Christ may die
and be lost — go to hell — in Christ."
" When was the kingdom set up ? "
B. " In the days of John the Baptist."
C. "On the day of Pentecost."
"What is the best form of Church -govern-
They both seemed glad the church-bell rung for
78 Methodism in a Nutshell.
church, and the conversation closed without an an-
swer to the last question.
Now, take the questions and their answers sepa-
rately, and you will have both of their creeds writ-
ten. They believed and preached what they said
to me ; and why not write it, so that the world may
know what you believe?
I will give some reasons why they will not write
their faith : (1) They change it as often as a Ban-
tam-rooster crows from day-break to sunrise, or as
often as they see fit. (2) There is no agreement
among themselves. (3) If written, they could not
so well preach and practice one thing her^ and
somewhere else deny it, as I have known them to
do. (4) If written, the world would know it, and
would never indorse it. (5) Their errors would be
Methodism in a Nutshell. 79
PERFECTION, sanctification, and holiness, are
synonymous. In an age of so much formal-
ity as the present, and of struggling for riches, ease,
and comfort, it is not strange that some deny, and
■elhers doubt, that Christian perfection is attaina-
ble in this life. Nor would it be very surprising to
me if some should believe, at no distant day, that it
is impossible for us to remain justified in this life,
as those professing justification live so far beneath
their duty. Therefore, because so few are perfect,
is no reason that it is not attainable in this life.
We are aware of the fact that some paint sanctifi-
cation in too glowing colors, while others obscure
it with clouds and mist.
In order to understand this glorious theme, we
will first notice what is not meant by perfection.
(1) It does not imply absolute perfection, as God is
perfect ; (2) nor angelic pefection— we are not per-
fect, as angels are ; (3) nor ajewe perfect, as Adam
was ; (4) we are not perfect in knowledge— -we can
never "know as we are known" of God in this
80 Methodism in a Nutshell.
life ; (5) we shall never be so perfect in this life
as to be free from mistakes; (6) nor infirmities.
Viewing it, then, in this light, it will not be so
Sanctification is higher attainment in religion,
that enables the Christian to fully develop the prin-
ciples and practices of Christianity — entire sancti-
fication, Christian perfection, perfect holiness, per-
fect love, and the maturity of all the Christian
graces — to be free from sin, to live without sin.
We will now prove by the Scripture that sancti-
fication is attainable in this life. "We are not to
prove that you are free from sin : we are only to
prove that it is possible for man to live without sin.
As sanctification, perfection, and holiness, are syn-
onymous, we shall so consider them.
Gen. xvii. 1 : " Walk before me, and be thou
perfect." If Abraham could not have lived per-
fect, God never would have made the demand ; he
does not require impossibilities. Matt. v. 48 : " Be
ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is
in heaven is perfect." As God is perfect in his
sphere, so "be ye perfect." Deut. x. 12: "And
now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require
of thee, but to fear, and to love, and to
nerve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with
all thy soul." Serve God with a perfect heart and a
willing mind. Ezek. xxxvi. 25: "Then will I
Methodism in a Nutshell. 81
sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be
dean; from all your filthiness, and from all your
idols will I cleanse you." Job i. 1 : " There was a
man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and
that man was perfect." No one can doubt that per-
fection was attainable in Job's day. Why not yet ?
It is, as has been testified by thousands living and
As perfection is strongly set forth in the Old Tes-
tament, we shall see it more so in the New Testa-
ment. Hear the language of Jesus (John xiv. 23) :
" If a man love me, lie will keep my words ; and
my Father will love him, and we will come unto
him, and make our abode with him." Do you
think Jesus and his Father will abide where sin is ?
Again (John xvii. 23) : " I in them, and thou in
me, that they may be made perfect in one." Zach-
arias said (Luke i. 74, 75), " Being delivered out
of the hands of our enemies, might serve him with-
out fear, in holiness and righteousness before him,
all the days of our life." Matt. xxii. 37 : " Thou
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and
with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." The lan-
guage of the apostles is too plain to be misunder-
stood. Rom. xiii. 8 : "He that loveth another hath
fulfilled the law." 1 Tim. i. 5 : " Now the end of
the commandment is charity out of a pure heart.
1 John i. 9 : " If we confess our sins, he is faithful
82 Methodism in a Nutshell.
and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness." 1 John iv. 12 : " God
dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."
" Cleansed from all their filthiness, and from all their
idols, and all their unrighteousness," and " to serve
him in holiness and righteousness all the days of our
life, and to serve him with a perfect heart" can im-
ply nothing less than Christian perfection, holiness,
or entire sanctification. We will only cite one
more passage— 1 Thess. v. 23, 24 : "And the very
God of peace sanctify you wholly ; and I pray God
your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved
blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it"
Do what ? Answer his prayers by sanctifying them
We could give many more as strong as those
above ; but they are sufficient for an honest inquirer
after truth. (For a fuller argument on this sub-
ject see Smith's and Ralston's "Elements of Divin-
ity," Wesley's and Marvin's sermons on Christian
Perfection, Entire Sanctification, and Going on to
Is sanctification attainable in this life ? Yes ;
for God commanded us to " be perfect " (Gen. xvii.
1). God never requires an impossibility. Luke
xv. 7 : "Be ye holy." If it were not possible to
be holy, God would never have commanded it.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 83
Perfect love is possible only to the sanctified.
Lukex. 27: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart." We cannot obey this command-
ment only in this life. It is attainable in this life ;
for we are commanded to "follow peace with all
men, and holmes.8, without which no man shall see
the Lord" (Heb. xii. 14), after death, in peace.
All the Scripture we have cited, to prove that
"perfected holiness in the sight of God " is possible
at all, proves that it is possible in this life ; for
"there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor
wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest."
"But," says some poor, doubting soul, "does not
John say, ' If we say we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves, and the truth is not in us ; ' and, ' If we
say we have not sinned, we make him a liar?'"
We have never thought of saying that we never did
sin. John was there only telling them they had
sinned ; for " all have sinned and come short of the
glory of God," in time past. Bead 1 John i. 7-10,
and we will see that the apostle was only impress-
ing us with the idea that we have committed sins
in time past, that we should fully realize the exist-
ence of. natural corruption, that we must confess
our sins, and that He is "faithful and just to for-
give us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unright-
How sanctification may be obtained sh>U next
84 Methodism in a Nutshell.
have our attention. This, like conversion, may be
either instantaneous or gradual. There is only one
condition of sanctification — that is faith in Jesus
Christ. There are several things necessary to this
blessing, while faith is the condition of it.
We must realize the fact of inbred sin, or natu-
ral corruption ; that no sin is excused with God,
for God cannot look upon sin with the least de-
gree of allowance. Still we must have holiness,
without which " no man shall see the Lord." En-
tire consecration is necessary — we must consecrate
mrselves wholly unto God. " Do all to the glory
)f God." When thus consecrated to God, ask him
'to sanctify you wholly;" and "as your faith is, so
be it unto you." If you are doubtful — cannot be-
lieve — say, in the language of the father, " Lord, I
believe; help thou mine unbelief;" and thus be-
lieving, you can realize that "the blood of Jesus
Christ cleanseth from all sin." Then we can "re-
joice evermore." O may all who read these pages
have that holy peace, love, and comfort !
Methodism in a Nutshell. 85
ST. PAUL wrote " as the Spirit gave him utter-
ance." The Spirit, seeing the future as well as
the present, and knowing the contentions that would
arise, and the diversity of opinions that would occur
in reference to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper,
moved St. Paul to pen language that should forever
settle this question (1 Cor. xi. 28, 29, 31) : " But let
a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that
bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth
and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh dam-
nation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."
" For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be
Notwithstanding these plain declarations of the
Scripture, directly upon this subject, we hear men
judging who are worthy. They never ask men to
examine themselves ; but they examine them, con-
trary to the Bible, and then " let them eat," if they
measure up to their standard. Brother, stop and
think. Are you not violating the plain teachings
of the Bible?
86 Methodism in a Nutshell.
There is only one condition required of any one
who desires to take the Lord's Supper, and that is
conversion to God. Those who partake of the sac-
rament commune with Christ, the Head of the
body ; and if they can commune with the Head,
they have a right to commune with the entire body,
or whole Church. The only conclusion at which
we can arrive is that "close communion" is un-
Says an objector, " It is close baptism." Non-
sense! The Bible says nothing about baptism
being necessary to communion. The communion
did not originate in denomination, sect, or party.
Neither Luther, Knox, nor Wesley originated it ;
it is neither a Baptist, Presbyterian, Campbellite,
nor Methodist table ; it is the Lord's table, and all
the Lord's people are invited to it. We shall show
that it is not close baptism. If I should be im-
mersed into your Church to-day, to-morrow leave
it, and join the Christian Baptists, who practice
free communion — there being none of your faith
near — next Sunday you would not permit me to
commune. I have not annulled my baptism, for
I was not rebaptized. You see, it is not close bap-
"But," continues the close communionist, "we
are the only Church, and you are not in the Church,
and therefore you are not entitled to commune with
Methodism in a Nutshell. 87
it." We deny it all; and we have the question
until you prove yours, which you never have done,
and never can do. You have surely forgotten what
Paul says — " Let a man examine himself," while you
are examining him; and, "if we would judge our-
selves, we should not be judged;" and you are judg-
ing us, and it is contrary to the Bible. It does not
say, Let Paul examine Peter, and Peter others, but
let every one — Peter, Paul, James, and the Church
— examine themselves — not you examine me, as you
Christian baptism cannot be a prerequisite to
communion, for the Supper was first instituted. It
was instituted before the death of Jesus, and Chris-
tian baptism afterward, in his commission to his
apostles (Matt, xxviii. 18-20). John's baptism was
not Christian baptism; for he did not baptize in
the name of Christ, and his disciples were rebap-
tized when they embraced the gospel (Acts xix.
"Should there not be a rule, or standard, by
which we may know who ought to commune?"
says the objector. The apostles admitted all "be-
lievers " to the privileges of the Church ; and Paul
said, "Let a man examine himself." The objector
says : " We have no authority to expel from other
Churches unworthy members, and one of our ex-
pelled members might go and join some other
88 Methodism in a Nutshell.
Church, and commune with us." That would not
injure you. If he "eateth and drinketh unwor-
thily," he " eateth and drinketh damnation to him-
self," not to you. Besides, other Churches are as
careful as yours. There are as many "tares" in
"the wheat" in your fields as in ours. Jesus, the
spotless Lamb of God, ate, or communed, with
Judas after the devil had entered into him.
There is only one other objection that we will
notice, and that is offense. Many close commun-
ionists are convinced that it is right to commune
with all good people ; but their Church forbids it,
and therefore they will not do so, for fear they
may be turned out of the Church. There might
be some prudence in considering whether we should
withdraw from such a Church, or not; but as to
whether " we ought to obey God rather than man,"
is the question for us to settle. Is it right ? If so
— and surely you cannot deny it — should you vio-
late your own conscientious views to please the
erroneous views of an erring Church? Can you
afford to do wrong, and please a few of your own
small Church, rather than do right, and please a
majority of the Christian world and your Saviour?
Would you not rather do right, and please Jesus,
even if it should displease some poor, erring mor-
tal, than do wrong, and please your friends, and
Methodism in a Nutshell. 89
The day is dawning when there will be a grand
resolution in this direction. When such men as
Hall and Spurgeon raise the banner of Free Com-
munion, superstition, ignorance, and bigotry can
no longer "hold the fort," but will give up to the
milder and better theme of brotherly love.
90 Methodism in a Nuts hell.
THE UNCONDITIONAL FINAL PERSEVERANCE OF THE
CAN Christians so apostatize, or fall away, as
to be lost? Not that there is a desire to fall,
but can they ?
As we think our position is understood, we shall
now proceed to show that they can.
1. Angels from heaven fell. Jude 6; "The an-
gels which kept not their first estate " fell ; and " if
God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast
them down into hell," neither will he spare us;
therefore we, being less holy, and exposed to temp-
tation, may fall.
2. Adam fell. None will say they are purer
than he. He was pure, had never been contami-
nated with sin, was not morally corrupt, as we are,
had no depraved nature, as we have — yet, amid all
his purity, he yielded to temptation, and fell. We,
being less pure, may fall.
3. Our third argument is based upon the fact
that others have, fallen. David, "a man after
God's own heart," fell. He was guilty of murder
Methodism in a Nutshell. 91
and adultery ; for he had Uriah killed in order that
be might have Bathsheba, his wife; and it "dis-
pleased the Lord" (2 Sam. xi.). Solomon, the fa-
vored of the Lord, was guilty of adultery and idol-
atry. Judas "by transgression fell" Jesus never
would have given him the power to work miracles
had he not been a good man. The " devil entered
into him" on* the night of the betrayal. Peter
denied his Lord. Peter had no " spark," for he
cursed and swore, and lied willfully and know-
ingly. Ananias and Sapphira " lied unto the Holy
Ghost, and unto God." Hymeneus and Alexander
"have made shipwreck" (1 Tim. i. 19, 20). These
cases are too plain to be misunderstood. If per-
sons, under both the Old and New Dispensations,
have fallen, persons under the New, or now, may
4. Conscience dictates to us that we can fall.
You know that you can cease praying and going
to church. You feel that you can gite way to
your fleshly and carnal desires. You are conscious
that you can let your passions run at large. You
feel and know that you could jest, dance, drink to
excess, gamble, lie, steal, and blaspheme the name
of God. If you do these things, you have not a
doubt that you will fall away. But to the law and
the testimony. ,
51 Our argument, in the fifth place, will be to
92 Mdhodism in a Nutshell.
prove from the Old Testament that a Christian —
one that is holy — may so " fall from grace " as to be
eternally lost. Thus saith the Lord by the prophet
(Ezek. xviii. 24): "When the righteous turneth
away from his righteousness, and committeth iniq-
uity, in his trespass that he hath trespassed,
and in his sin that he hath sinned, shall he die."
This cannot mean se//-righteousness, for it says,
" when he turneth away from his righteousness and
committeth iniquity;" and it cannot mean tempo-
ral death, for it says, "in his sin that he hath
sinned shall he die ; " and no one dying in his sins
can be saved. In Ezek. xxxiii. 13 it is unmistak-
ably plain: "When I shall say to the righteous,
that he shall surely live ; if he trust in his own right-
eousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness
shall not be remembered ; but for his iniquity that
he hath committed, he shall die for it." While
" God hath loved us with an everlasting love," and
has said, "My covenant J will not break, and I
will not fail David," yet it is clear that we can
wander from God, and that his love will give place
to his justice. He will not break his covenant, but
we can and may break it, and fail to love him. We
could multiply passages from the Old Testament,
showing how many had fallen, and the warnings
given to Israel not to fall, but these are sufficient.
6. We will now notice a few of the very many
Methodism in a Nutshell. 93
passages in the New Testament, bearing directly
on this subject. Jesus, looking down through the
coming years, saw the danger of apostasy, and said
(John viii. 51), "If a man keep my saying, he shall
never see death." "If" shows there is a probabil-
ity and danger of him not keeping it, and if he
fails, he shall " see death " unless he repents. In
John x. 27, 28, Jesus says : " My sheep hear my
voice, and I know them, and they follow me ; and
I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never
perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my
hand." There is no unconditional salvation there ;
for he says, "My sheep ; " and after they have wan-
dered off, and are devoured by the wolf, they are
no longer his sheep, nor can they longer "hear his
voice." They are not " following " him ; and the
eternal life is suspended on the condition that they
follow him. And. " they shall never perish " if they
"follow me;" "neither shall any man pluck them
out of my hand;" but they can get out if they
wish. " If ye do these things, ye shall never fall."
Fail to do them — fail to "hear" and "follow" —
and you will fall. We find that final salvation
is on the condition of our "doing these things."
Jesus represents himself as a " vine," and his fol-
lowers as the "branches," or limbs, and tells by
this illustration what will become of them if they
"abide not" in him, or if they prove unfaithful.
94 Methodism, in a Nutshell.
John xv. 1-6 : "lam the true vine, and my Father
is the husbandman. Every branch in me that bear-
cth not fruit he taketh away. I am the vine,
ye are the branches. If a man abide not in
me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered;
and men gather them, and cast them into the fire,
and they are burned." It would be difficult for
one to form language stronger than this. These
are persons represented as •being in Christ; but
they arc taken away from Christ by the Father,
because they bear no fruit. They are beyond re-
covery ; they are burned — no chance to graft them
in, and cause them to bear fruit. The plain mean-
ing of this parable is, if we fail to be good and
bring forth fruit as Christians, we shall lose our re-
ligion. It can mean nothing less.
7 We shall next consider what the Apostle Paul
says on this subject. Kom. xi. 17-22: "And if
some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being
a wild olive-tree, wert graffed in among them, and
with them partakest of the root and fatness of the
olive-tree, boast not thyself against the branches ;
but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the
root thee. Thou wilt say, then, The branches w r ere
broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; be-
cause of unbelief they were broken off, and thou
standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear."
What for? "For if God spared not the natural
Methodism in a Nutshell. 95
branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God :
on them which fell, severity ; but toward thee, good-
ness, if thou continue in his goodness ; otherwise [if
not] thou also shalt be cut off." He, no doubt, was
addressing Christians. There was danger of their
being cut off— not only from the Church militant
(for a sin, unrepented of, that would exclude him
from the Church would also exclude him from
heaven)— but from the favor and friendship of
God. " God is faithful, who will not suffer you to
be tempted above that ye are able " (1 Cor. x. 13) ;
but if you fail to obey when it is said, " Quench
not the Spirit ; hold fast that which is good ;
abstain from all appearance of evil" — that
"your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved
blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ ;
faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it " —
if you fail to fear, and watch, and pray, and be not
high-minded — fail to fulfill all these conditions —
you cannot obtain these promises. " Otherwise thou
shalt be cut off." There is no contradiction between
this and Rom. viii. 38, 39 : "I am persuaded that
neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principali-
ties, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to
come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." This is all
96 Methodism in a Nutshell.
true — angels, wicked men, and all the combined
powers of earth and hell, cannot separate us ; but
we can separate ourselves. "My grace is sufficient
for thee," if you will use it ; use grace, and grace
will be given. Paul, although confident that these
could not move or separate him if he did his duty
and trusted in God, yet feared, lest a promise being
left us of entering into that rest, some of us should
come short of it. And 1 Cor. ix. 27 : " But I keep
under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest
that by any means, when I have preached to oth-
ers, I myself should be a castaway." He had just
said (verse 24), "So run, that ye may obtain." If
a believer cannot become a disbeliever — if one in
hope of eternal life cannot become hopeless — if we
cannot "so run that we may" not "obtain" — why
all this warning? Is one-third of the Bible a mean-
ingless fable ? " O it is to make us faithful ! " says
one. "God is not a man, that he should lie"
(Num. xxiii. 19). He would not have said, "If
they turn away from their righteousness they shall
surely die," if he had not meant it. Paul never
would have had the impression that we could " fall
away," and be lost, if there had been no possible
chance to have done so. You cannot make me be-
lieve that Paul would have palmed a falsehood off
on the Church. If there had been no danger, he
would probably have used such language as this :
Methodism in a Nutshell. 97
"You will be better and happier here if you do your
duty ; but if not, you will be saved anyhow. No
use of fearing ; no use of annoying yourself about
falling away; no danger of being cut off." Not
so — Paul knew the danger. He felt, no doubt, as
we all should feel who are called to preach — " So
thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman"
upon the walls of Zion ; and " if thou dost not speak
to warn the wicked from his way, his blood
will I require at thy hands. Therefore, thou
son of man, say unto the children of thy people,
The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver
him in the day of his transgression; neither
shall the righteous be able to live for his righteous-
ness in the day that he sinneth." Again (Heb. vi.
4-6) : " It is impossible for those who were once
enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift,
and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto re-
pentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the
Son of God afresh, and -put him to an open shame."
Paul tells them here what will be the consequence
if they fall away— shows, beyond doubt, there is a
possibility of a fall. We could reason on this sub-
ject at length, but we deem it unnecessary. This
is so "plain, the wayfaring man, though a fool,
need not err therein." The same inspired writer
says again (Heb. x. 38): "The just shall live by
98 Methodism in a Nutshell.
faith ; but if any man draw back, my soul shall
have no pleasure in him" — meaning, "drawing
back to perdition; I shall utterly cast him off."
Again (Heb. x. 26-29): "If we sin willfully after
that we have received the knowledge of the truth,
there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a
certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery
indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
He that despised Moses's law died without mercy
under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer
punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought wor-
thy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God,
and hath counted the blood of the covenant, where-
with he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath
done despite to the Spirit of grace?" The person
here spoken of was sanctified. He knowingly and
willfully sinned ; therefore, " there remaineth no
more sacrifice for sins" — he was lost.
8. We will notice, in this connection, what the
Apostle Peter says of those that " have escaped the
pollutions of the world;" if." they are again entan-
gled therein, and overcome," what is their condi-
tion ? 2 Pet. ii. 20, 21 : "If after they have escaped
the pollutions of the world through the knowledge
of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again
entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is
worse with them than the beginning. For it had
been better for them not to have known the way of
Methodism in a Nutshell. 99
righteousness than, after they had known it, to turn
from the holy commandment delivered unto them."
Could stronger language have been written? He
not only says they may be "' overcome," but that it
"is worse with them than the beginning," or before
they were converted. " But," says one, "the next
verse tells us that 'the dog is turned to his own
vomit again ; and the sow, that was washed, to her
wallowing in the mire. ' " So it does ; but the " dog ' '
was a well dog, and the " sow " was " washed." We
arenothing but dogs and sows, when compared with
God ; but here they were well and clean.
9. We will now only quote a few passages, and
leave this subject for your prayerful consideration.
"Many of the Jews turned back." Isa. i. 28:
"And they that forsake * the Lord shall be con-
sumed." Jer. ii. 1»8: "For my people have com-
mitted two evils ; they have forsaken me the fount-
ain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns,
broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Matt,
x. 22: "He that endureth to the end shall be
saved." Matt. xii. 43, 45: "When the unclean
spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry
places, seeking rest, and findeth none." "Then
goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spir-
its more wicked than himself, and they enter in
* Forsake— to leave. We cannot forsake that which we
never; |>ossessed, or to which we were never attached.
100 Methodism in a Nutshell.
and dwell there; and the last state of that man is
worse than the first ' ' Heb. iv. 1 : " Let us therefore
fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into
his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it."
Heb. ii. 2, 3 : " For if the word spoken by angels was
steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience
received a just recompense of reward, how shall we
escape if we neglect so great salvation?" Heb.
iii. 14 : " For we are made partakers of Christ, if
we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast
unto the end." 1 Cor. x. 12: "Wherefore let him
that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
1 Tim. i. 19: "Holding faith, and a good con-
science; which some having put away concerning
faith, have made shipwreck " — lost all. Rev. ii. 4,
5, 10 : " Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee,
because thou hast left thy first love. Remember
therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent,
and do the first works ; or else I will come unto thee
quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his
place, except thou repent." " Be thou faithful unto
death, and I will give thee a crown of life." We
could give many other passages bearing directly on
this, subject, but we deem the above sufficient.
"If they do fall," says one, "they can never be
renewed." Well, that is begging the question, or
equivalent to saying they can fall. As you have
assumed that ground, we will now prove they can.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 101
THAT there is an unpardonable sin we will not
deny. Matt. xii. 31, 32: "All manner of sin
and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but
the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be
forgiven unto men." This is attributing the works
of Jesus to the devil. We believe there are many
that "make shipwreck" of their faith, and become
so Wicked, after their conversion, that the last end
is worse than the first ; " for it had been better for
them not to have known the way of righteousness
than, after they have known it, to turn from the
holy commandment delivered unto them." Yet
we believe they can be renewed. After they have
so fallen away as to be finally lost, if they should
thus die, we think they can be saved by returning
to Jesus by faith.
We will first clear away the brush; when all
difficulties are removed, we will then proceed to
give you the law and testimony.
TJiestronghold of those who contend that a back-
102 Methodism in a Nutshell.
slider cannot be reclaimed is Heb. vi. 4-6 : " For
it is impossible for those who were once enlight-
ened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and
were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have
tasted the good word of God, and the powers of
the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew
them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify
to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him
to an open shame." In order to comprehend the
meaning of this passage, we must understand to
whom it was addressed, etc. The Christian He-
brews were converts from Judaism. While they
were Jews they did not believe Jesus to be the
Christ. Now, for them " to fall away " was to re-
nounce Christianity and go again to Judaism. In
doing this they openly and publicly said that Jesus
was an impostor, and died a just death on the
cross, and never rose from the dead ; thus " cruci-
fying to themselves the Son of God afresh, and
putting him to an open shame," by saying he was
an impostor. Therefore, " there was no more sac-
rifice for (their) sin." Should the^remain in this
belief — that he was not the Christ — " it is impossi-
ble to renew them again unto repentance " — that is,
impossible to get them to repent — not impossible
for them to repent. If they should become con-
vinced of their error, and again believe " that Jesus
is the Christ," there would then be a " sacrifice for
Methodism in a Nutshell. 103
sin," and then they could be renewed unto repent-
You see there is no difficulty in the way here
when we understand what Paul means.
The next stumbling-block is Heb. x. 26-29:
" For if we sin willfully after that we have received
the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no
more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking
for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall
devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses's
law died without mercy under two or three wit-
nesses ; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye,
shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden un-
der foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood
of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an
unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit
This we must view in a similar light as the one
above. The reason " there remaineth no more sac-
rifice for sin," to them, is because they "have trod-
den under foot the Son of God," the only sacrifice
for sin; and if they refuse him as the sacrifice,
"there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin." Of
course, if they " counted the blood of the covenant,
wherewith they were sanctified, an unholy thing,"
there was no other " sacrifice for sin." And while
they thus willfully persisted in the belief that it
was an "unholy thing," there could be nothing
104 Methodism in a Nutshell.
"but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and
fiery indignation, which shall devour the adver-
saries." But should they be convinced that the
"blood of the covenant" is a " holy thing," then
there is still a " sacrifice for sin," and all who wish
can obtain forgiveness of sin.
As we have explained the passages that look
most forbidding to the backslider, Ave will now cite
you to the invitations of God to come. We will
not use a passage where the backslider is not in-
cluded. We will first notice those where the back-
slider alone is invited.
Isa. lv. 7: "Let him return unto the Lord, and
he will have mercy upon him ; and ta our God, for
he will abundantly pardon." A man can never
return to a place where he has never been. Here
the "wicked and unrighteous" backsliders are in-
vited to come, or return. Return means to go
back. Hos. vi. 1: "Come, and let us return unto
the Lord ; for he hath torn, and he will heal us ; he
hath smitten, and he will bind us up." These are
precious promises to the poor apostate to get him
to return. Hear him again in Hos. xiv. 1, 4: "O
Israel, return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast
fallen by thine iniquity." "I will heal their back-
slide) u/, I will love them freely ; for mine anger is
turned away from him." Mai. iii. 7: "Return unto
me, saith the Lord, and I will return unto vou."
Methodism in a Nutshell. 105
We could give many others of this character if
we thought it necessary. These are sufficient to
encourage the prodigal to return to his Father's
We will now invite your attention to the uni-
versal invitations, such as embrace all men.
Isa. lv. 1 : "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye
to the waters, and he that hath no money ; come
ye, buy, and eat." All who have any desire for
salvation are here invited to come, " without money
and without price." All men desire to be saved,
therefore all men are here invited to come.
Hear the words of the blessed Jesus himself,
Matt. xi. 28 : " Come unto me, all ye that labor and
are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Are you
weary of your sins? Are you heavy-laden with
guilt ? Then you are invited to come to Jesus, and
he "will give you rest." If there were no other
passages in the Bible, this would be sufficient ; but
there are many.
The backslider can be saved, for God commands
all to repent, and he does not command impossibil-
Acts xvii. 30 : " The times of this ignorance God
winked at, but now commandeth all men every-
where to repent." If "all men" could not receive
pardon, it would be mockery to command them to
106 Methodism in a Nutshell.
The unlimited love of God is another strong ar-
gument in favor of our position. AYe are told in
John iii. 16, "For God so loved the world, that he
gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth
in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
" For God sent not his Son into the world to con-
demn (any of) the world, but that (all) the world
through him might be saved." God gave his Son
to save the world; backsliders are a part of the
world, therefore they can be saved. As we quoted
extensively from this class of Scripture in our argu-
ment on the extent of the atonement, we deem it
unnecessary to enlarge here.
We are persuaded thus of "Religion: if you
seek it, you will find it ; if you find it, you will
know it ; if you know it, you have got it ; if you gel
it, you can lose it; if you lose it, you can find it.'
r I 1HE law-making body of Methodism is the General
-*- Conference. It is composed of all the bishops, and
an equal number of clerical and lay delegates from each
Annual Conference. There is one clerical delegate for
every thirty traveling preachers, and an equal number of
lay members. It meets quadrennially, or every four years,
in the month of May. It generally continues in session
from twenty to thirty days. It has the power to change
the usages, but not the power, of our Church.
The Annual Conference meets every year. It is com-
posed of all the itinerant preachers within its bounds.
The bishop is the president of the Annual Conference.
It receives preachers on trial who wish to join the itine-
rant ranks. When they have traveled two years, and
passed the required examination, they are then received as
members of the Conference, and ordained deacons. After
traveling two more years, and completing the course of
study, they are then ordained elders.
It is the duty of this Conference to examine the charac-
ter of all its members, and transact the business laid down
in the Discipline. Here the preachers receive their work
for the ensuing year. The bishop, aided by the presiding
elders, appoint the preachers to their fields of labor. Four
lay delegates from each presiding elder's district are also
members of the Annual Conference.
The District Conference also meets once a year. It is
composed of all the preachers and officers of the district.
A district is composed of from ten to fourteen circuits,
stations, or missions. The presiding elder is the president
of the District Conference, and it is held by him — when
no bishop can be had to review the work within the bounds
of his district.
The Quarterly Conference is held four times a year, in
each charge, by the presiding elder, or by the preacher in
charge in his absence, to transact the business of the cir-
cuit, or charge. Here the stewards report, and hand over
to the preachers the money collected to bear their ex-
penses while they are preaching. The Quarterly Confer-
ence is held where the members thereof may determine by
vote, but it generally meets in rotation. If there are four
appointments in a circuit, each place generally has a quar-
terly meeting once a year.
The Church Conferences are to be held in each church
at least once every three months (but, alas! how many
fail!) They are held by the preacher in charge, to trans-
act the business connected with that charge, or Society.
"There is only one condition previously required of
those who desire admission into these Societies — a desire
to flee from the wrath to come, and be saved from their
"Seekers" may join our Church, and be baptized when,
and in the manner, they wish.
The sacrament of the Lord's Supper is generally admin-
istered once a month in stations, and once every three
months on circuits, and at quarterly meetings.
A deacon in our Church is not authorized to administer
the Lord's Supper. He can perform the ordinance of bap-
tism, and solemnize the rite of matrimony. The elder alone
administers the Lord's Supper.
No person can (lawfully) join our Church without pub-
licly assuming the vows of the Church before the congre-
gation ; nor can any leave it privately. They can ask to
have their names erased from the Church-book, and then
it is the pastor's duty to announce it publicly.
In moving from one neighborhood to another, even if
not to remain more than a year, a Church-letter should be
obtained from the preacher, to prevent the loss of Church-
membership ; for twelve months' absence strikes off your
Those who feel that they are unworthy a place in the
Church, and wish to leave it, should make the fact known
to their pastor.
There seems to be a proneness among Church-members
to partake of the amusements of the day. We earnestly
beg you to take the Discipline, and prayerfully read "The
General Rules." Ask yourselves if you are "doing what
we know is not for the glory of God" — such as "the taking
such diversions as cannot be used in the name of the Lord
Jesus." Are jesting, dancing, dram-drinking, attending
the gambling operations of the turf, the theater, or the cir-
cus, glorifying God? Can you use such diversions "in the
name of the Lord Jesus ? " No ; it would be solemn mock-
ery. When you are doing such things you are positively,
willfully, and knowingly violating the rules of the Church
you have vowed to support.
Now, turn to the baptismal vows, and read: "Dost thou
renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and
glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same,
and the carnal desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not
follow or be led by them?" Answer. "I renounce then
all." Are you not breaking your baptismal vows when
you are participating in those amusements which are the
glory of the world to follow? Yes, most assuredly you
are. Amusements that are innocent in themselves may,
and often do, become harmful in their degree or associa-
"Young persons of cultivated minds and elegant man-
ners, who may desire to be sincerely religious, are especially
, open to danger, from the tone of surrounding fashionable
society, and from the plausibility of the worldly spirit.
But the law of gratification which rules the world, and
offers the present and immediate 'gratifications only,' is,
and ever must be, opposed to the unbending law of duty,
which conscience and God imposes. There can be no
compromise here. There can be no inward experience of
grace, no valid religion of the heart, which is not pre-
ceded by a full, unreserved, irrevocable commitment to
the Lord. This commitment involves self-denial, taking
up the cross, and following Christ. Such a religion
needs not, desires not, allows not, participation in worldly
pleasures, in diversions which, however sanctioned by po-
sition, are felt and known to be wrong by every truly
awakened heart. Its spiritual discernment is not declined
by well-dressed plausibilities, by refinement in taste, or re-
spectabilities in social position. It has 'put on the Lord
Jesus,' and made "no provision for the flesh to fulfill the
lusts thereof.' The influence of this form of religious
character may be silent, but it is none the less potent, in
the family, by the fireside, at the watering-place, or on
the broad thoroughfares of business. What the Church
lives alone affects the world." — Bishops' Address.
We wish to give one word of exhortation, in reference
io the prevailing evil of fretfulness, which weakens the
power of Christianity, especially in the family. When the
children see this manifestation of sin, it destroys their
confidence in their parents. It also infuses a like disposi-
tion of disagreeahleness to those with whom we associate.
Kindness is one of the characteristics of Christianity;
and, to "manifest ourselves to every man's conscience," we
must carry our religion into the parlor, family, and every-
day business of life.
The world has set up a high standard for Christianity,
and we must measure up to it. Let us live and die our re-
ligion. This ever has and ever should characterize Meth-
Methodism in a Nutshell. 15
easier for a dozen wise, experienced men to choose
a suitable pastor for a Church than it is for those
who in some instances are very young and inexpe-
rienced to elect a man whom they often know but
little, if any thing, about. If one should become
dissatisfied with the pastor, in their Church, unless
a majority of the members should also become dis-
satisfied, he might remain so a life-time without any
remedy, while we have the assurance of a change
every four years, and if there is much dissatisfac-
tion — but there seldom is — he may be changed in
one year, or at once.
Exhorters are those who are not called to preach,
but feel that they have inclinations to exhort sin-
ners publicly to repent. This should not be left
for all to do of their own choice, independently ; for
in this way unsuitable persons might impose upon
the Church. An exhorter is not a preacher. He
may use a passage of Scripture as a foundation for
his exhortation, but must not take a text. Persons
who cannot preach, or expound the word of God,
may effectually exhort sinners.
Licensed preachers have power, or permission, to
preach, but not to solemnize the rite of matrimony,
or to administer the sacraments of the Church.
Four years as a local preacher, or two years as a
traveling preacher, renders the licentiate eligible
to election as deacon. The Bible says, " Lay hands
16 Methodism in a Nutshell.
suddenly on no man," to ordain him. We think
this good advice. Deacons are permitted to solem-
nize the rite of matrimony, baptize candidates for
Church-membership, and assist the elder to admin-
ister the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. One who
has been a local deacon four, or a traveling deacon
two, years may be ordained elder.
The elders are exhorted to feed the flock ; but
the bishop is to oversee the whole Church. From
very early times there have been bishops to oversee
the Church (1 Tim. iii. 5). Some object to bishops
on the ground of their authority. The Bible gives
them the authority, and bids you " obey them that
have the rule over you, and submit yourselves"
(Heb. xiii. 17). The ordination of the ministry in
the apostolic age, by the laying on of hands, was
not for any miraculous gift of the Spirit, but a
Church-form, to be observed continually.
Preachers should be divinely called. We do
not mean that one hears an audible voice ; but as
sounds falling on the ear make impressions on the
mind, so our conscience is moved by the influence
of the Spirit, making us feel that we ought to
preach. One man saying that no one is called to
preach because he is not, is poor sophistry. Paul
says "we are embassadors for Christ," executing
the function of an embassador, in Christ's stead.
He came from the Father to mankind on this im-
Methodism in a Nutshell. 23
CHRIST — HIS DIVINITY.
THE humanity of Christ is generally admitted ;
and his entire personal history proves him to
be man, or the " Son of man." But that Jesus
Christ is truly God is what we wish here to prove.
Christ is called the Lord and God in Isa. xl. .'•»:
"The voice of him that erieth in the wilderness
(John the Baptist), Prepare ye the way of the Lord
(Christ), and make straight in the desert a highway
for our God" (Christ). And we find this passage
quoted anol applied to Christ in Matt. iii. 3: "For
this is he that was spoken of by the Prophet Esaias
(Isa. xl. 3), saying, The voice of one crying in the
wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord," etc.
John i. 1 : " In the beginning was the Word ( Christ),
and the Word was with God, and the Word (Christ)
was God" This is as plain and forcible as language
can make it, that Jesus Christ is called God, and
as none but God is called God, Jesus must be God.
In Matt. i. 23 Jesus Christ is called "God with us."
In Rom. ix. 5 he is called "God blessed forever."
" God was manifest in the flesh." 1 Tim. iii. 16
26 Ifethodism in a Nutshell.
FIRST. Sufficiency for Salvation. — We believe
"the Holy Scriptures contain all things nec-
essary to salvation," and without adding to or tak-
ing from them, we indorse them as the will of God
to man. Many of the prophecies of the Old Tes-
tament are fulfilled. A great many of the types
and shadows, sacrifices and offerings, are done away
with. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for cor-
rection, for instruction in righteousness : that the
man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished
unto all good works." The inspired apostle said,
in Acts viii. 32, " The place of the Scripture which
he read was Esaias the Prophet," showing that all the
Old Bible is "profitable for doctrine." All the
moral precepts are still binding on us. Salvation
in the Old Testament was offered through a pros-
pective Saviour ; salvation in the New Testament
is offered through retrospective faith in Christ, who
has died for our redemption.
Second. For the sake of harmony, we think it
Methodism in a Nutshell. 27
best to have our faith, or opinion, written, so that
the world may know what we believe and teach.
There can be no impropriety in it. It is not add-
ing to nor taking from the Bible. It is only giving
our opinion to others. Some seem to wish to make
the impression that wc are not governed by the
Bible, or that we never study it ; or, if we do, we
are not capable of comprehending its meaning. If
we preach what we believe the Bible to teach, they
cry " Persecution ! persecution ! " At the same time
they think that we should come and hear them
preach what they believe, and think strange if they
hear any complaint from us, while they often use a
tirade of abuse that should be beneath the dignity
of a Christian gentleman. All this we must peace-
ably take, and never return a word, or some one is
dreadfully persecuted. This ingenious scheme of
proselyting has hoodwinked and decoyed some un-
stable souls off where there is nothing but spiritual
drought, and they have lost all of the enjoyment
of their religion, if not their souls.
Third. Original Sin — Depravity. — "As in Adam
all died " a temporal and spiritual death, and he is
our federal head and representative, we are all thus
dead, which is total depravity. As our opinion with-
out the Bible is worth nothing, we will give you a
" Thus saith the Lord " for all we do.
Man before the flood was " only evil." Gen. vi.
28 Methodism in a Nutshell.
5 : "And God saw that the wickedness of man was
great in the earth, and that every imagination of
the thoughts of his heart was only evil continu-
ally." Gen. viii. 21: "For the imagination
of man's heart is evil from his youth." This " evil "
is not brought about by education, example, asso-
ciation, or otherwise, but it is "from his youth."
Sin is the cause — either directly or indirectly — of
all trouble ; and it is said in Job v. 7, " Man is born
unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward." David
speaks of himself in language like this in Ps. li.
5 : " Behold, I was shapen in iniquity ; and in sin
did my mother conceive me." Not that his mother
and father were sinners practically, but naturally.
There could have been no moral rectitude in David.
Again, Ps. lviii. 3: "The wicked are estranged
from the womb : they go astray as soon as they be
born, speaking lies."
The total depravity of man is very forcibly spoken
of in Jer. xvii. 9 : " The heart is deceitful above all
things, and desperately wicked : who can know it ? "
" The heart" here spoken of is not the heart of the
worst of men only, but the generality of men. If
man were not depraved, there would be no necessity
of the new birth. Jesus says, in John iii. 3 } « Ex-
cept a man be born again, he cannot see the king-
dom of God" — showing plainly that without regen-
eration, or the new birth, there is no salvation.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 29
We will only quote one more passage, Rom. iii.
10-23: "As it is written, There is none righteous,
no, not one. They are all gone out of the
way, and all the world may become guilty
before God. For all have sinned and come
short of the glory of God." The apostle here proves
that all, both Jews and Gentiles, are in the same de-
praved condition, and must be saved by faith in
The universality of wickedness, man's own con-
sciousness of his natural tendency to sin, the gen-
eral resistance of virtue that make watchfulness,
education, influence, and conflicts necessary to coun-
teract the force of evil, and the strong tendency of
man to sin, sustained by the Bible, convince us man
34 Methodism in a Nutshell.
Neither Jesus, nor God through his word, ever
commanded people to do impossibilities; and the
command is for all to repent. Acts xvii. 30 : "And
the times of this ignorance God winked at ; but now
commandeth all men everywhere to repent." It would
be solemn mockery to command men to do that
which they cannot do, or that which will do them
no good. We will only refer to one more passage
— Acts x. 43 : " To him gave all the prophets wit-
ness, that through his name whosoever believeth in
him shall receive remission of sins."
From our own conscience, from the usages and
belief of all civilized nations, and from the teach-
ings of the Scriptures, we are satisfied that salva-
tion is free — that all can be saved if they desire,
and will put their desires in practice.
As all men can be saved, we will now notice the
condition on which they may be saved.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 35
TO be justified is to be absolved, or freed from
guilt. Justification is pardon. When the
Bible tells us how we are, or may be, justified, it
simply means how we are pardoned, or forgiven.
" We are accounted righteous before God, only for
the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by
faith, and not for our own works or deservings;
wherefore, that we are justified by faith only, is a
most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort."
For a full exegesis of this subject we would refer
the reader to Mr. Wesley's sermon on Justification,
and Ralston's " Elements of Divinity."
Faith is the only condition of justification. We
mean by this that we might have faith without any
thing else, and we be justified ; we might have all
things else, without faith, and we cannot be justi-
fied. There are some things that are prerequisite
to faith, and there are some things that strengthen
our faith. While faith is the act of the creature,
it is also the gift of God.
Repentance is necessary to faith. We would
38 Methodism in a Nutshell.
ness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not
reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that
worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the
ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. For
we say that faith was reckoned unto Abraham for
righteousness." We must notice when Abraham
had this faith : we learn from Kom. iv. 11, "And he
received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the right-
eousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncir-
cumeised." We see he had this faith before he was
circumcised. " For the promise, that he should be
the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his
seed, through the law, but through the righteousness
of faith." When St. James asks, " Was not Abra-
ham, our father, justified by works when he offered
up his son Isaac ? " he did not wish to convey the
idea that Abraham was never justified before that
time, for he had been, for twenty-four years (see
Gen. xv. 6), but wished to impress the Church that
faith would die if it were not exercised. Faith will
We can see how the Israelites were justified from
Kom. ix. 31, 32: "But Israel, which followed after
the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the
law of righteousness." Wherefore ? or why ? " Be-
cause they sought it not by faith, but as it were by
the works of the law." This shows us that neither
their works of righteousness — such as sacrifices and
Methodism in a Nutshell. 39
burnt-offerings — nor their obedience gave them par-
don, but their faith.
We have proved from the New Testament that
the Old Bible way of justifying was by faith. We
will now notice only a few of the many passages in
the New Testament that prove we are justified by
We will first cite the language of Christ — John
i. 12, 13: "But as many as received him, to them
gave he power to become the sons of God, even to
them that believe on his name : which were born, not
of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will
of man, but of God." If we are "sons," we are
"heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ," having
an inheritance in heaven, on the condition of our
faith. This corresponds with 1 John v. 1 : " Who-
soever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of
God." John xx. 31: "But these are written that
ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God ; and that believing ye might have life through
his name." " Life," in this passage, is equivalent to
justification, and is given on the condition of faith,
We shall next refer to the preaching of the apos-
tles, first noticing that passage which has been so
frequently misunderstood, thereby causing many to
err. It is often misinterpreted in two respects —
'first, as to whom it is addressed, and, second, as to
42 Methodism in a Nutshell.
amount of one hundred dollars, and have not the
money to pay for them, and he agrees to take my
note. I would write it thus :
$100 00. $100 00.
One day after date I promise to pay Mr. Smith one
hundred dollars ($100 00) "for" value received.
Feb. 6, 1879. (Signed) .
At the expiration of six months Mr. Smith comes
to me, and asks me for the money. I tell him I owe
him nothing. He presents the note, and I claim it
as my receipt, or claim that he owes me that amount.
He asks me how it is, and I tell him that he mis-
understands the note — that I claim that for means
in order that I, or in order to, and he owes me $100.
We see, when we make Peter mean " Eepent and
be baptized for" — in order to — "the remission of
sins," we cause him to convey a meaning different
from that which he intended ; but if we read it
"Kepent and be baptized, for" your "hearts have
been purified" — which is "the remission of sins"
there is some consistency; for to have the "heart
purified by faith," and to " believe that Jesus is the
Christ," must be regeneration, or pardon, or for-
giveness, or "remission of sins." Peter did not
promise them the forgiveness of sins, but " the gift
of the Holy Ghost." As I give my note "for value
received," or because I have received value, so I am bap-
tized "for the remission of sins," or because I have re-
Methodism iri a Nutshell. 43
mission of sins. Baptism was the sign, or witness, to
the world that we are Christians, or have received
the remission of sins, and the "giit of the Holy-
Ghost" is the witness given to us to know that we
are Christians. " The Spirit itself beareth witness
with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
Acts xi. 17 : " Forasmuch, then, as God gave them
the like gift" (of the Holy Ghost) "as he did unto
us" (Jews> on the day of Pentecost), "who believed
on the Lord Jesus Christ, what was I, that I could
withstand God? " Peter used this language in de-
fense for having preached to the Gentiles. By ref-
erence to Acts x. 43, we can see what he preached.
He was sent for by Cornelius, who was a mourner,
to hear what he must do to be saved, or to receive
the remission of his sins. Cornelius was a Gentile,
a sinner, although a penitent one. He had never
been baptized. He prayed. God heard his prayers,
and in answer to them Peter was sent for, and he
went. He preached the gospel to the Gentiles —
the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He said
that " he " (Jesus) " commanded him to preach unto
the people; " and here is what he was commanded
to preach : " To him give all the prophets witness,
that through his name whosoever believeth in him
shall receive remission of Bins." As Cornelius was
an earnest, praying listener, he accepted the propo-
sition at once, and believed; for "while Peter yet
50 Methodism in a Nutshell.
fied from past sins, says it is by works, and then
refers to the time Abraham was justified in offering
Isaac, which was some twenty-four years after he
"believed in the Lord, and he counted it to him
for righteousness " (Gen. xv. 6) ; and nowhere in
the Bible is it said that a man is justified from past
sins by obedience. See and consider 1 Cor. i. 14.
Methodism in a Nutshell. 51
BAPTISM — ITS DESIGN.
AS we have proved in the preceding chapter
that we are justified from past sins by faith
only, and not by baptism, it now only remains for
us to state the design of baptism.
Ralston says: "We arrive, then, at the conclu-
sion that although water baptism should not be too
lightly esteemed, and either set aside as not neces-
sary under the gospel, or viewed as merely a form
of initiation, or as a help to the exercise of faith,
neither, on the other hand, should it be exalted too
highly, as possessing intrinsic virtue and saving
efficacy. The truth is this : it is a sign of a Chris-
tian man's profession, and also of the inward spir-
itual grace of regeneration and sanctification, and a
seal of the gracious covenant by which the Church-
relation and promises of eternal life are confirmed
unto God's people."
The Mode. — There has been so much said and
written on this subject we will be very brief.
Baptism* is from the Greek ^aTzrt^m (baptizd),
*The Bible speaks of baptism, under about eleven differ-